Controversial Apple Products That Became Wildly Popular

Controversial Apple Products That Became Wildly Popular

Discover the 4 Apple products that were once criticized at launch but later became wildly popular From the iMac in 1998 to the Vision Pro headset in 2021, Apple has a history of entering new markets and proving the skeptics wrong

Apple's latest product launch, the Vision Pro headset, marks their first Gen 1 product since the 2015 debut of the Apple Watch. While the company has a history of entering new markets, skepticism often accompanies these launches, only to be followed by significant success. Let's take a look at four previous examples.

iMac (1998)

The iMac G3's release in 1998 garnered a mixed response from critics. While the now-iconic design was well-liked, the technical specifications, ports, and repairability received less universal praise. Reviews of the iMac G3 are difficult to find in full online, but can be sourced from magazines. One such review from PC Magazine stated that while Apple's claims of Pentium-killing power were overstated, the iMac still succeeded in its intended purpose.

The absence of a floppy drive poses a significant flaw in the iMac. Without networking, there is no other way to transfer information from the system. Inability to save files to a floppy renders the iMac almost useless as a terminal with only modem and networking capabilities. While the internal 10Base-T Ethernet connector, 56k modem, and infrared port ensure easy setup, they also limit any potential upgrades.

iPod (2001)

proved to be a game-changer for Apple, despite its limitations. In just four months, it managed to double the company's PC market share and ultimately saved it from potential failure. Its success paved the way for the development of other revolutionary products, such as the iPod and iPhone, which may not have been possible without the iMac's groundbreaking impact on the market.

However, some critics were quick to point out the high cost of the device, which made it inaccessible to many consumers. Despite this initial criticism, the iPod went on to become a cultural phenomenon, paving the way for Apple's dominance in the music industry.

The Mac-friendly iPod is already available, however, there are rumors that a PC version may not be released until spring or may not be released at all. Despite its high pricing, the Apple iPod is an exceptional product with great features. The iPod has a storage capacity of 5GB, which amounts to 1,000 songs. It's worth noting that this is 125 times more data than the Mac Classic's 40MB hard drive. The iPod is a stunning device, albeit slightly bulky, weighing only 6.5 ounces.

Apple users had mixed feelings about the original iPod, as evidenced by the numerous comments on the MacRumors forums. While some deemed the $400 price tag for an MP3 player unreasonable and predicted its failure, others expressed a desire for a more versatile device, such as a PDA.

The hype surrounding this MP3 player seems a bit excessive. It's hard to believe that Steve Jobs truly thinks this device will be a breakthrough in digital technology. In reality, it's not all that revolutionary. I already own a Nomad Jukebox with a 6 gig hard drive, which only set me back $250.

Apple's iPod was a game-changer in the music industry, revolutionizing the way we listen to music. Its success was undeniable, with sales hitting over 20 million units per year by 2005, and peaking at an impressive 60 million in 2008 and 2009.

iPhone (2007)

Many people were skeptical when the original iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs in 2007. Despite the hype surrounding the announcement, there were still doubts about whether Apple had truly revolutionized the phone industry. In particular, critics pointed out that the phone was very expensive and lacked a physical keyboard, which made it less appealing to business users who relied heavily on email. Even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer expressed doubts about the device, calling it "the most expensive phone in the world" and questioning its suitability for professional use.

The iPhone has been both lauded and criticized, with some of the hype being justified. While it is a revolutionary device that offers substance and style, it is not without flaws. The phone boasts features that have never been seen before, but it also lacks some basic features found on other phones. - David Pogue, The New York Times

According to John C. Dvorak of Market Watch, Apple faces a tough battle in the highly competitive smartphone market. Even in the personal computer industry, where Apple was a pioneer, it had to contend with Microsoft and could only manage a 5% market share.

Ed Colligan, former CEO of Palm, once said that making a decent phone is not something that PC guys can just figure out and walk into. However, the original iPhone became the third most popular phone in the U.S. within just three months of its release, making it an undeniable success for Apple. Fast forward to Q1 2023 and Apple now holds a significant 21% of the global smartphone market share and an impressive 52% of the U.S. market share.

Apple Watch (2015)

Despite initial skepticism surrounding Apple's foray into the smartwatch market, the 2015 announcement of the original Apple Watch marked a turning point in public perception. At this point, it became increasingly clear that Apple had a firm grasp on what consumers were looking for in a wearable device.

Despite its impressive technological features, the purpose of the Apple Watch, and smartwatches in general, remains unclear. It is important to note that owning a smartwatch is not a necessity, as it requires additional care and charging, and the functions it offers are mostly covered by a smartphone. Additionally, the battery life of these devices is still in need of improvement for optimal usability.

The limitations of the Apple Watch are evident, as it requires an iPhone 5 or later to function. Additionally, not everyone desires constant notifications on their wrist or the ability to control other devices via their watch. While some may view smartwatches as unnecessary gadgets, Apple has successfully secured a dominant position in the market, with 43% of wearables shipped worldwide being Apple Watches in Q1 2023. Samsung is the closest competitor with only 8%.

The history of Apple is marked by both successes and failures in product development. Their unexpected hits, such as the iPod and iPhone, have become cultural icons, while their misses, like the Apple Pippin gaming console and Newton PDA, were discontinued after limited market adoption. With Apple's recent announcement of the Vision Pro at WWDC 2023, the question remains: will it join the ranks of their successful products or fall short like its predecessors?