All in all I think it’s fair to say that the 2000s was a good decade for Apple.
The Steve Jobs-led Cupertino-based company pushed out a number of products, and while not all were raging commercial successes, they all exuded that certain “Appleness” that fanboys love and competitors try not to admit to but are secretly green with envy about.
So here, in no particular order, are my top ten Apple products from 2000-2009.
You’re bound to disagree with some, if not all, of them, so please leave your own thoughts in the comments below.
Although it feels as if the iPod has been around forever, it was in fact introduced in the October of 2001.
The beginning of the decade saw a wave of white earbuds being worn on public transport, increasing as Windows-compatible iPods became available and as the number of different iPod models increased and popularity soared.
Though criticised for tying users into the iTunes software and for heavy DRM on tracks bought from the store, there’s no denying that the iPod has been one of Apple’s biggest successes of all time, propelling it into the mainstream consumer electronics market where before it had relied the small market share of its line of computers.
There have been six generations of standard (now referred to as classic) iPods, with an increasing feature set including larger colour screens, video and downloadable games.
Additionally, a range of other media players were spawned off the back of the iPod, including the Shuffle, Nano and Touch.
Typically expensive, other media players often offered more features and better sound quality for less money, yet the Apple faithful (and many new converts) continue to buy iPod in all its variants. Many even stick to the standard white earbuds.
A top Apple product list wouldn’t be complete without the iPhone.
Rumoured for ages before its eventual release in the summer of 2007, it has arguably done to the mobile space what the iPod has done for portable music players.
While many well-established cellphone manufacturers continue to push out a myriad of different handsets, hoping to appeal to a wide section of the population, Apple has to date launched just three iPhone handsets: the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS, all with increasing functionality, network connectivity and speed.
Though Apple has been criticised both for some hardware decisions (non-removable battery, initial proprietary headphone socket) and business ones (locking to one mobile carrier) the iPhone has been a phenomenal success for Apple.
Power Mac G4 Cube
The Cube was not one of Apple’s greatest successes but it was certainly an eye-catcher when it launched in the year 2000.
The Cube measured just eight inches cubed and was suspended in a ten-inch tall acrylic enclosure.
This wasn’t a machine you bought if you were going for the highest specification G4 available, as you could get more powerful (but visually less interesting) Macs for less money.
However, in a world of beige PC boxes (and let’s not forget that Apple itself made some pretty lousy-looking boxes in the ’90s) it was a breath of fresh air.
Not the only one, of course, as in the 2000s we also saw the…
The iMac has been through a whole host of changes, from the all-in-one G3 iMacs in a range of colours through to today’s Quad Core iMacs, but for me this was the first iMac that had me drooling.
It featured a fully movable display and a hemispherical base in which all the other components were stored, plus a front-facing optical drive.
Not only did it look fantastic but it also had its own range of Pixar-created TV ads.
The iMac G4 was definitely the Mac to be seen with, particularly if you were working in a design agency or other creative profession.
Power Mac G5
Though Apple has come under fire for its claims surrounding the speed and performance of the various chipsets it has used, it’s hard to deny the power of the Power Mac G5 line of computers.
Definitely aimed at the power-hungry professional, and including a dual core version, they were 64-bit computers with a rugged, anodised aluminium chassis.
The Power Mac G5 was the last in the line of professional Macs based on PowerPC architecture, superseded by the Intel-based Mac Pro.
Cinema Display 24″
Apple has created some fairly impressive displays over the years, but the 24-inch LED-backlit model, designed to complement modern Mac laptops, is one of the best.
Yes, you can get the incredible 30-inch cinema display, but this display not only features the latest LED display technology but also a range of complementary features such as iSight camera, MagSafe connector, USB hub, speaker system and built-in microphone.
A great display when you’re ready to work at a desk, or hook it up to a Mac Mini and use it as a TV.
Ahh yes, the Mac Mini. Perhaps the evolution of the Cube, it has spanned the PowerPC and Intel gap, first released in 2005 with a G4 processor.
It was always promoted for its small form factor, and while it wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as some of Apple’s other Macs, it could certainly be hidden away or placed on a small section of desktop.
It is fairly well suited for use in a home theatre setup and is an interesting machine for users to upgrade.
The big cats of the Unix-based Mac OS X began roaring in 2001 (1999 if you include the Server version) and have progressed through Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard and Snow Leopard.
Moving to OS X for the new millennium was a far from pain-free process, not least for many users who were used to System 9.x (or earlier) operating systems and whose software relied on it.
However, it’s probably been one of the best software moves Apple has made. It has made transitioning to Intel-based hardware a lot easier, offers a high level of reliability and security, and allows easier Windows compatibility for those that need it.
With OS X, Apple has created and continues to develop an OS and variants that can be used across a range of its hardware including the latest iPods, iPhone, Apple TV, as well as its line of desktop and laptop computers.
iMac Quad Core
I’ve picked the latest iMac because it’s both powerful and beautifully designed.
I must be honest, I’m not a great fan of all-in-one systems, despite having picked two of them for the top ten, but I’m going to make an exception for these babies.
Grab a 27-inch LED-backlit display and a 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and put it all in a seamless aluminium casing and you have one heck of a computer.
Apple has proved that, while the really power-hungry user may still want to invest in a Mac Pro, prosumers will still get an amazing system with the latest display and processor technology with an iMac.
Touted as the thinnest, lightest notebook of all time when first launched, the MacBook Air has been imitated and criticised, but it continues Apple’s commitment to seamless, visually appealing design in both its desktop and notebook computers.
Granted, you have to pay a lot more money for a less powerful system than you’d get from a MacBook Pro, you don’t get an optical drive or a lot of expansion options, and Apple continues its policy of non-removable batteries, but it’s still not hard to fall in love with the Air.
So there you are. That’s my selection of ten Apple products from the last decade. What’s your favourite?
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