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The strangest devices Apple used to make


Only taking risks can lead a company to become among the most valuable in the world. It turns out Apple made a lot more than the computers and smartphones it's currently most known for.

Last Sunday marked 41 years since Apple's initial public offering (IPO). At the time, it was the largest offering since Ford Motors went public in 1956.

Priced at $14, the Apple stock opened at $22 and closed at $29, making 40 out 1,000 Apple employees instant millionaires. Apple netted a whopping $1.778 billion with its first IPO, foreshadowing a bright future in the coming decades.

Established by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976, Apple is currently the world's most valuable company with a value close to a hardly comprehendible sum of $2.8 trillion.

That's so much money that Apple could allocate $374 to every living person on Earth or send $28 to each star in the Milky Way galaxy.

The company that is now synonymous with smartphones and slick computing has made many things over its lifespan. We've covered some of its products in our series on expensive retro computers and vintage devices.

However, this time, we've compiled a list of some unusual devices Apple has made over the years. From TVs to game consoles, it seems the company has tried everything in its decades-long life.

Macintosh TV (1993)

Macintosh_TV
Image by npasquali/Flickr.

Released in 1993, the Macintosh TV was the company's first attempt to merge a computer with a television, entering a persistent contemporary market segment.

Also known as Peter Pan, the device sold for a tad over $2,000 at the time of its release, making it a rather costly gadget.

The TV part of the device was taken from Sony Trinitron, while the computer was a remodel of Macintosh LC 520.

In line with trends of the time, the device was black, a first for Apple. The machine even had a remote control for the TV. The device, however, was a commercial flop, selling around 10,000 units.

Apple QuickTake (1994)

Apple_QuickTake
Image by Shutterstock.

For three years in the ’90s, consumers in the US could buy Apple's digital camera, the QuickTake. Born out of a partnership with Kodak, the device was one of the first digital cameras to enter the market.

Sold for $749 at its release, the camera was not cheap. However, tech reviewers lauded the device as the first 'consumer digital camera.'

The device won a Product Design Award in 1995 due to its ease of use. The camera had a built-in flash and could provide takes with a resolution of up to 640x480.

The project was discontinued once Steve Jobs returned to Apple and cut off many of the non-computer branches of the company.

MessagePad (1993)

MessagePad_Shutterstock
Image by Shutterstock.

The MessagePad, also known as Newton MessagePad for the operating system it used, the device was Apple's series of personal digital assistants.

A trendy contemporary device, the PDA was primarily meant for business use to serve as a smart notebook in the ever-faster world.

MessagePad was a collaboration between Apple and Japanese titan Sharp Corporation. The gadget was among the first in Apple's line to feature an ARM processor.

A necessary feat to enable such features as Apple's handwriting recognition that allowed users to use the pen that came with the PDA.

A starting price of $900 did not repel users from buying a whopping 50,000 units in the first quarter of release. The success even spurred a chain of Newton Source stores that existed in the US for four years.

Apple Pippin (1996)

Apple_Pippin
Image by Wikimedia.

Half a decade before Microsoft introduced Xbox, developers at Apple tried their luck in the gaming console market with their own device, the Apple Pippin.

Marketed as a multimedia platform rather than a gaming-only console, Pippin was made to serve as a device for audiovisual, stereo, and TV environment.

Based on the look, however, Pippin resembles modern-day gaming consoles very much. That shouldn't come as a surprise since Pippin was made in partnership with Baidu, a Japanese toymaker that made gaming consoles at the time

The gadget's release was plagued with disagreements between Baidu, whose executives wanted Pippin to be a purely gaming console, and Apple, where heads wanted a more diverse device with internet connectivity.

In the end, Baidu and Apple sold only 42,000 devices, canceling the project after the first year.

eMate 300 (1997)

Apple_eMate_300
Image by Wikimedia.

Another PDA by Apple, falling in the Newton device family, the eMate is still the only touchscreen laptop Apple has ever produced.

The device was meant as a combination of a low-cost laptop and a PDA. Therefore, the lightweight eMate 300 had a full keyboard and clamshell-style design.

The device was aimed mainly at educational institutions and was designed with a translucent case, similar to Apple's iMac G3, released several years later.

eMate's life was short-lived. Steve Jobs canceled the Newton line of Apple devices in 1998, not even a full year after the device was released to the market.


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