From the earliest days of working in Steve Jobs' childhood Los Altos home, Apple has been a key innovator in the consumer electronics market. Since then, Cupertino has become known the world over as a vanguard of technology and design. Of course, even the most prolific inventors know that not every concept is good enough to go down in history — or even make it to the showroom floor. At times, early designs are weird, impractical, ugly or just sound better in theory than in practice. Apple is no different in this regard.
Case in point, here are 10 of the strangest Apple concepts and products that the company has released (or considered).
10. The MacPhone
Apple experimented with several landline / tablet-hybrid devices in the early 80s called the Apple Snow White 1 Tablet Mac and the Apple Snow White 3 Macphone. Rather than releasing either device, Apple instead focused on the Macintosh platform — but later revisited the concept with the release of the iPhone and iPad. Click next to continue to number 9.
9. Apple TimeBand
Before the Apple Watch, Cupertino apparently experimented with wrist-mounted computing devices — including this concept pulled from a Japanese design magazine in 1991. It’s oddly reminiscent of the Fallout franchise’s Pip-Boy, and looks a bit bulky to be practical. Additionally, since it was only an early concept, it’s not clear if a prototype of the device was actually ever created. Click next to continue to number 8.
8. A Bike-Mounted Computer
Another design discovered in a 1991 issue of Japanese design magazine Axis, this bike-mounted computer was apparently being explored by Apple at the time. While we’re not sure what functionality this computer might have had, it certainly seems like Apple may have been ahead of its time — as bike-mounted smartphones, GPS systems and other devices are now a common sight. Click next to continue to number 7.
7. Weird iPhone ConceptsDuring the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit, several early iPhone 4 concepts were unearthed, including an angular device with a curved back called the N90, and an octagon-shaped iPhone that could have become standard if Cupertino didn’t opt for the more rectangular and rounded design that’s used today. Click next to continue to number 6.
6. Flower Power MacintoshIn 2001, Apple released a series of Macs with multicolor patterns injection-molded into their cases. One of them was aptly named the Flower Power Mac — a design that still isn’t very well-received. It’s definitely a far cry from the clean and minimalist aesthetic that Apple has come to be known for today. Click next to continue to number 5.
Long before the iPad was reality, the "Bashful" was designed by Hartmut Esslinger, who eventually went on to establish Frog Design, Inc. The Bashful was apparently an early prototype of the Newton, a PDA-typed device from 1993 that could be equipped with a stylus and an external keyboard accessory. Click next to continue to number 4.
4. Concept 2 Vertical Computer Monitor
Yet another Hartmut Esslinger design, this one was for a Mac computer that had a striking vertical screen. Simply called the “concept 2,” it’s not known exactly what would have made this computer stand out other than its design — which, admittedly, looks a bit weird and impractical. Click next to continue to number 3.
3. The Dual-Screen Workstation
Another Esslinger design, this dual-screen workstation was an early concept being considered by Cupertino in the early 80s. Luckily, Apple eventually came out with the iMac — a computer that achieves a similar effect without the weird divider between both halves of the screen. Click next to continue to number 2.
2. Apple Pippin
When you think of Apple, you probably don’t think of console gaming. But Cupertino actually did come out with an open-source gaming platform called the Apple Pippin. Apple initially created their own demonstration device, but then licensed the platform to various third-party manufacturers who created their own hardware to go along with the multimedia architecture — including the Bandai version depicted here. Click next to continue to number 1.
1. The 20th Anniversary Mac
To celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the first Macintosh, Apple released a limited-edition computer in 1998 aimed at the “executive market.” It boasted some advanced and bespoke features — including a custom-made Bose speaker — and cost a hefty $9,000. More extraordinary than the computer itself, however, is the fact that each Mac was hand-delivered by a tuxedo-clad Apple staff member, who then helped each individual buyer set up and learn about his or her computer.