Out with the old
One of the things that makes Apple so successful is that it’s not afraid to abandon/kill popular technologies in the interest of something new. In doing so, the company often creates a bit of controversy, even if in the long run it seems to pan out well. At the same time, Apple’s revolutionary products have helped bring down entire product categories. Here is a rundown of technologies and products that Apple has killed (or is in the process of killing) over the last 17 years.
The first product released during Steve Jobs’s second stint at Apple was the Bondi Blue iMac. The all-in-one design was an immediate hit with consumers, and the machine was notable as much for its iconic look and performance as it was for the features it didn’t include. Specifically, the first iMac shipped without a floppy drive. At the time, back in 1997, this was a huge deal. To some critics, Apple was running a huge risk by completely doing away with what was then a common storage medium. Jobs and Apple, though, had the foresight to realize that computing was rapidly becoming Internet-centric, thereby eliminating the need for old-fashioned floppy drives.
Apple’s 30-pin connector
For over a decade, iPod, iPhone, and iPad users alike relied on Apple’s tried-and-true 30-pin connector for charging and to connect their devices with computers and accessories. But Apple said goodbye to the 30-pin connector in 2012 when it introduced the Lightning connector, a superior standard for a number of reasons. In addition to being smaller and more robust, the Lightning connector is reversible, which makes for a more efficient user experience. Naturally, abandoning the 30-pin connector on new iOS devices caused temporary problems for individual consumers and even large companies who had spent lots of money on older iOS accessories.
Remember Netbooks? A few years back, these hyper-small laptops were poised to be the next big thing in computing. In fact, back in 2008 and 2009, netbooks were flying off the shelves. As a result, there was a lot of pressure for Apple to enter the netbook market. Apple, however, went a different route when it released the iPad. Rather than opting for a compromised device, the company entered a new product category entirely with the iPad. The end result was a rather quick demise for the netbook, and in parallel, a reinvigorated market for tablets.
FireWire was a proprietary Apple technology which allowed for incredibly fast transfer speeds between devices. Indeed, it was one of the features that made the original iPod so compelling. Beyond that, FireWire was, for a time, the de-facto standard for transferring digital movie footage to Macs.
Unfortunately, Apple ultimately began phasing out FireWire on Macs in 2008 as transitioning to USB expanded the company’s pool of potential users. It’s a shame, though, because USB 2.0, while decent, was vastly inferior to FireWire. The staggered abandonment of FireWire ultimately gave way to Thunderbolt.