Monday, January 26, 2009

Five forgotten Apple products

Ergonomics often the cause of product failure in the marketplace ...

"With any company that’s been around for more than 30 years—and with as many interesting, creative, and varied ideas Apple has had—there are bound to be a few Apple products that have slipped through history’s cracks. Along with its incredible successes, Apple has made its rightful share of clunkers and obscure products that quickly sunk to the bottom of the deep and vast ocean of public memory.

Come with us now as we explore these depths and dredge up five Apple products that probably won’t get the blowout anniversary treatment on the virtual pages of Macworld.com.

1. QuickTake 100

Apple Computer—known for its groundbreaking work with PCs, PDAs, and…digital cameras? Indeed, 1994 saw the release of Apple’s QuickTake 100, one of the first consumer digital cameras in the US. The inaugural model of the QuickTake series debuted with an awkward form factor that resembled a one-eyed pair of futuristic binoculars.

Capable of storing eight photos at 640-by-480 resolution (or 32 at 320-by-240) on a whopping 1MB of internal flash memory, it was obviously primitive by today’s standards. Apple released more powerful members of the QuickTake family over the next few years, but under the weight of competition from Kodak and Fuji, the computer maker’s offerings never sold well.

It’s no surprise, then, that Apple unceremoniously dumped its entire QuickTake product line around 1997—likely a victim of Steve Jobs’ famous house cleaning.

2. Apple Adjustable Keyboard

At some point in the early 1990s, it became legally fashionable to be concerned with computer ergonomics. Prolonged use of any keyboard can lead to hand and wrist strain, repetitive stress injuries, and carpal tunnel syndrome. As any responsible computer maker should (whispers the PR department), Apple decided to offer a “healthy” alternative to its typical keyboards. So, in 1993, the company released the Apple Adjustable Keyboard, which looked, more or less, like a typical Apple keyboard split in two (but with a honkin’ big space bar). In the middle of the split was a hinge that allowed users to position the two halves of the keyboard at the most comfortable angle for them.

Unfortunately for Apple, the most comfortable position for the Apple Adjustable Keyboard was as far away from the user as possible, dooming Apple’s ergonomic wonder to obscurity."    (Continued via Macworld, Benj Edwards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Original Apple Ergonomic Keyboard - Ergonomics

Original Apple Ergonomic Keyboard

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