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The 9 Worst Apple Products of All Time

The "industrial" design of the iPhone 4, introduced in mid-2010, was a favorite -- especially considering that the same design was replicated not only in the following year's iPhone 4s but (in larger-screen form) in the successor iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, and iPhone SE. But it wasn't without its problems, specifically those involving (quoting Wikipedia) its "uninsulated stainless-steel frame which doubles as an antenna".

As GSM cellular carrier-base customers quickly learned, its received signal strength could vary widely depending on how it was held (assuming an insulating "bumper" or other case wasn't on it) and how the results were reported. And then-CEO Steve Jobs' initial response to the reports ("Just avoid holding in it that way") wasn't exactly helpful either. The antenna was redesigned in time for the CDMA-friendly version of the handset, which appeared eight months later, along with the follow-on GSM-plus-CDMA model in mid-2011.

To be clear, the iPhone 4 ended up selling quite well, anyway. Wikipedia notes that it "had the longest lifespan of any iPhone ever produced, spanning close to four years and available in some developing countries until early 2014. But those first few months were pretty rocky, and one can only guess how much better the iPhone 4 might have performed in the market absent Antennagate.

(Image source: By Justin14 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Apple has had an enviably high product success batting average over its 40 year-plus existence. But not everything that's come out of Cupertino, Calif. has been a home run (or even a bunt single). Then again, a few strikeouts in the overall mix are indicative of taking chances; their absence would suggest an overly conservative corporate culture, which wouldn't be a good thing either. And with more than $300 billion USD in total assets as of the company's fiscal 2016 third quarter financial results announcement, Apple can probably afford a few whiffs.

It's not yet completely clear whether Apple's actually got a car under development (although, as I suggested in my recent writeup, where there's smoke there's almost always at least a small fire). Even less clear is to what degree (if at all) an Apple car would end up being a success. It may instead end up the latest entry on Apple's list of clunkers over the decades.

No company is immune to failure. Here's an alphabetical list of Apple's greatest product failures.

What do you think of these products? Are there any that should be on the list? Let me know in the comments.

Brian Dipert is the principal at Sierra Media, which provides technology analysis and consulting, along with multimedia development and publishing. He is also editor-in-chief of the Embedded Vision Alliance, and senior analyst at BDTI (Berkeley Design Technology Inc.). Brian has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. His professional career began at Magnavox Electronics Systems in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Brian subsequently spent eight years at Intel Corp. in Folsom, Calif.

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