horror honor of yesterday's announcement of the newly-designed third-generation iPod nano, we here at Infinite Loop have taken some time to look back at the last 10 years of Apple product design in order to get some perspective on just how hideous the new Apple audio player is (to some of us). This list isn't to say that some of these Apple monstrosities don't have a special place in our heart, though.
1997 Apple eMate 300
It's hard to know exactly what Apple was thinking on this one. We would find out later that translucent can be done right, but in this instance, it was just done wrong. Add to that the shade of green that Apple designers decided to use and the overall shape of the "ultra portable," and we have ourselves the first ugly Apple product of the last 10 years.
1998 Power Macintosh G3 AIO
This is clearly a case of function over form. The Power Macintosh G3 AIO had it all: floppy drive, CD-ROM, Zip drive, 3 PCI slots… except for looks. Perhaps Apple believed that the .edu sector, of which this machine was only offered to, didn't need a good-looking machine. This gigantic beige monstrosity's "bubble top" only sealed its inclusion on this list.
1999 Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White)
This was a tough one for us. Most of us love the industrial design of this machine and the ability to easily work on its innards, and some of us even liked the color. However, most of us are men, and men with bad color taste (it should be noted, however, that Jacqui proudly sported a blue and white G3 throughout college). We have been informed that the color, well, may not be so good on a computer. Who knew? Add to it the Mickey Mouse G3 logo and this beauty makes our list.
While some thought the original iBook looked like a clam, the less gracious among us compared its looks to a less-flattering toilet seat. Add the blueberry color to the unfortunate shape (also offered in tangerine, lime green, and "graphite") and you can't go wrong with the iBook.
2001 Flower Power iMac
Nothing really needs to be said here. I've never seen one in the wild (other than in a store) and I only saw one of them sell during my tenure at an Apple Authorized dealer. ::shakes his head::
Originally only intended for the education market, this machine resembled an iMac on HGH. Despite its decent specs at the time, its "ginormosity" just made it a little on the ugly side. Its front headlights didn't help the situation and the oversized CD-ROM door just made the front look like a big, ugly car.
2004 iMac G5
If anything on this list is almost "not ugly," it is the iMac G5 design. Just a bit too thick and a chin just a bit too big, it really is hard for us to include this one on the list—some of us have owned them (and er, some of us still do). Some would argue that the G4 iMac is the uglier of the two, but that Pixar lamp was just so cute!
2005 iPod Shuffle (Rev. 1)
Regardless of whether or not you liked the screen-less audio player while it was out, it is hard to argue in retrospect that it looks like some sort of home pregnancy test. The long and skinny look isn't exactly "in" when it comes to MP3 players. The Rev. 2 iPod shuffles were a welcome and much needed change to the industrial design of the shuffle line.
2007iPod nano (Rev. 3)
It may grow on us, but we doubt it. As the inspiration for this list, the iPod nano looks as though it was put inside a trash compactor, perhaps where it should have stayed. In the 24 hours since its announcement, I haven't heard many positive comments. While it may not look as ugly in profile, that's no excuse. Don't even get us started on seafoam green and sky blue!
So there it is, some of the low points in design from the boys and girls out in Cupertino. There were some that were close—the iLamp, the 14" chicklet iBook, that translucent, huge Apple Cinema Display—but in the end they didn't make the cut.