10 Apple apps that didn't make it

Apple's business is a mix of hardware and software; so not every product survives the test of time. Here we look at ten classic apps from Apple's past.

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  • aperture Aperture
  • appleworks wikipedia AppleWorks
  • macpaint from wikipedia MacPaint
  • macwrite on macintosh from wikipedia MacWrite
  • mac os from wikipedia Classic Mac OS
  • eworld from wikipedia eWorld
  • hypercard on powerbook from wikipedia HyperCard
  • mobileme MobileMe
  • sherlock from wikipedia Sherlock
  • dos taken from wikipedia Apple DOS
  • More stories
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Aperture

It's easy to forget how remarkable Aperture was. It came out of nowhere and struck a blow against Photoshop, with editing tools that relied on sliders more than brushes, making them quicker and simpler to use.

Photoshop’s dominance briefly looked threatened. After all, if you didn't need to create brand-new pictures from scratch, why would you choose it over this new pretender?

Adobe was swift to respond, shipping Lightroom and pricing it well below Aperture. It took Aperture’s power and flexibility to another level, and when Adobe dropped Creative Suite in favour of Creative Cloud, Aperture couldn’t compete. Many Adobe customers would now be getting Lightroom bundled with their Photoshop and InDesign subscriptions, so it felt like it was free. Apple cut Aperture’s price, but that wasn’t enough to save it. Read: Apple Aperture vs Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

It carried on for three years without any serious updates until Apple, not surprisingly, pulled the plug on future development.

Where Apple goes from here remains to be seen. It’s finally previewing Photos for OS X but that looks to us more like a rival for iPhoto. We’ll bring you a full review as soon as Apple makes it available. If our suspicions are confirmed, Aperture’s demise may well mark the point at which Apple once again cedes the high-end market to Adobe.

Read: Everything you need to know about Apple's decision to kill Aperture and iPhoto

And: Alternatives to Aperture and Photoshop

Next »

Next Prev aperture

It's easy to forget how remarkable Aperture was. It came out of nowhere and struck a blow against Photoshop, with editing tools that relied on sliders more than brushes, making them quicker and simpler to use.

Photoshop’s dominance briefly looked threatened. After all, if you didn't need to create brand-new pictures from scratch, why would you choose it over this new pretender?

Adobe was swift to respond, shipping Lightroom and pricing it well below Aperture. It took Aperture’s power and flexibility to another level, and when Adobe dropped Creative Suite in favour of Creative Cloud, Aperture couldn’t compete. Many Adobe customers would now be getting Lightroom bundled with their Photoshop and InDesign subscriptions, so it felt like it was free. Apple cut Aperture’s price, but that wasn’t enough to save it. Read: Apple Aperture vs Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

It carried on for three years without any serious updates until Apple, not surprisingly, pulled the plug on future development.

Where Apple goes from here remains to be seen. It’s finally previewing Photos for OS X but that looks to us more like a rival for iPhoto. We’ll bring you a full review as soon as Apple makes it available. If our suspicions are confirmed, Aperture’s demise may well mark the point at which Apple once again cedes the high-end market to Adobe.

Read: Everything you need to know about Apple's decision to kill Aperture and iPhoto

And: Alternatives to Aperture and Photoshop

 

AppleWorks

The AppleWorks most of us know was the third incarnation, brought about when Apple rolled its Claris subsidiary into the mothership and rebranded ClarisWorks; a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool and database that were also available on Windows.

Yet the seeds of its destruction were sown long before it finally disappeared. Despite being bundled with new Macs, it wasn’t a comfortable fit when launched within the shiny environs of OS X. With a floating toolbar and unsubtle icons, it felt neglected and unloved, and not without reason: Apple was working secretly on a replacement that would kill it off bit by bit. Keynote came first, and it wasn’t entirely surprising. We already suspected that Jobs’ bi-annual presentations weren’t being rendered using PowerPoint, but something bespoke that turned out to be an in-house presentation tool that it went on to sell to the public. From that point on, the writing was on the wall.

Pages and Numbers followed over the next few years and AppleWorks was finally discontinued in 2007, having been on sale in various guises for 23 years. It isn't actively maintained and won't run on anything later than OS X 10.6 (Leopard).

Read nore about iWork here: iWork tips, tutorials, reviews and more

 

MacPaint

If it wasn’t for MacPaint, there might not be a Mac today. The app played a starring role in Steve Jobs’ landmark reveal of the very first Macintosh, where the cursive ‘hello’ in the MacPaint window stood it apart from its text-based rivals.

It was inspirational, but imperfect. The reason screenshots of MacPaint always look so neat and clean has nothing to do with Apple’s fastidious control over its artwork: it’s because the layout was fixed, with one immovable document window of a set size.

Despite this, its user interface is a classic, whose influence still shines through in the palette-based editing apps we used to this day. We have Bill Atkinson and Susan Kare to thank for that (she also designed the original Apple icons), who both formed part of the original Macintosh development team and had to design a whole new language for on-screen interaction.

Version two built on its success, adding resizable windows and the ability to open more than one file at a time. Development passed to Claris, which kept it on the shelves until 1998 – a full 14 years after its first release. If you want to remind yourself what the world was like in the days before Photoshop, MacPaint has been recreated in HTML5.

Read about the history of the Mac in our Mac at 30 section.

 

MacWrite

It’s hard to imagine now how radical Apple's new GUI must have been when it first appeared, and how applying it to a word processor signalled a sea change in the way we work day to day. With multiple fonts and formatting tools that simply didn’t feature on typewriters, MacWrite was a challenge to the established order. The only limit to it abilities seemed to be the fact that it loaded your complete document into its memory every time you opened it, so the length of your work was limited by the RAM in your machine.

MacWrite shipped alongside MacPaint and established itself as one of the key drivers in pushing new buyers towards the original Macintosh.

Sales gradually fell in the face of increased competition, with the cross-platform Microsoft Word establishing itself as a firm favourite among business users. MacWrite couldn’t compete and was last updated in 1994, by which point the third, final and best-known incarnation of AppleWorks was poised to deliver the killer blow to this stand-alone app. MacWrite and MacWrite Pro enjoyed 10 years of relative success, and although it can’t read their files, Pages is their ultimate successor.

Read: Apple iWork: updates and troubleshooting

 

Classic Mac OS

Referred to simply as ‘System’ until version 7.6 when Apple rebranded it Mac OS, the ‘Classic’ Mac operating system shipped from 1984 until 2000. Apple carefully guided users from one release to the next, extending compatibility between each architecture so that – in theory – you could still be moving an unbroken stream of data from a Macintosh 128k to the latest Mac Pro.

System was neat and compact, and had no command line, which was a brave move in a world dominated by text-based interfaces. It originally ran on limited memory and a Motorola 68000 processor, and relied on pairing floppies with code embedded inside the hardware both to speed things up and to combat unauthorised use on non-Apple Macs or unlicensed clones.

As late as System 4 it could only run one app at a time, and it originally had just one user account that everyone had to share. Its single level of folders also meant file management was basic in the early days.

Apple started work on a replacement – Copland – in 1994, which would have shipped as Mac OS 8, but development ran late and got unwieldy. It was cancelled when Apple acquired NeXTSTEP, which formed the basis of Mac OS X.

Find out how to run a vintage Mac OS on your Mac here.

 

eWorld

The mid-1990s, online at least, was all about walled gardens. AOL and CompuServe were at the head of the pack here, bundling connectivity with email accounts and bespoke content that couldn’t be accessed outside of their own applications. Apple, naturally, wanted a piece of the action, so it launched eWorld, a Mac-only service providing reams of digital documentation, online services and a convenient access tool to bind it all together.

Like AOL and CompuServe, it ran within its own client application that both connected to the network over a dial-up landline and provided an index for the bundled information. The main interface was laid out like a town, with different buildings housing the various services it had to offer, which made sense at the time but sounds a bit convoluted now. There was also a browser that ran alongside the eWorld environment to give access to the fledgeling web.

As a Mac-only service, eWorld was overtaken by AOL and CompuServe. Its client software wasn't stuck to the front of every computer magazine and, as a result, it had a relatively small user base, eventually closing down in March 1996, with Apple suggesting that users move over to AOL.

 

HyperCard

As the Automator of its day, HyperCard gave System 5 to Mac OS 9 users an easy way to build applications without the pain of learning a complex language. Each part of a HyperCard routine was designed on a virtual ‘card’ using common layout elements like boxes, buttons and text. The cards were arranged in linked ‘stacks’, allowing the user to move from one to the other with data following them through the chain until it delivered an end result.

Every object on a card, such as a button or checkbox, could be associated with a line or block of code that was executed as the user interacted with it, so the whole system could sit idle between steps while it waited for the next input. The scripts themselves were written using HyperTalk, which was an English-like programming language, and could optionally plug into an integrated database, allowing end users to store data within the system. Many software houses also used it as a means of shipping demos of their products.

It was dropped with the move to OS X, although elements of its scripting language have persisted within AppleScript.

 

MobileMe

MobileMe launched in July 2008 in an effort to make the existing .Mac service more personal and relevant to iOS users. It wasn't Apple's finest move. The subscription-based online service, comprising an email address, remote storage and publishing services for its iLife apps, fell short of many users' expectations, and finally bit the dust in summer 2012. Some of its tools, including Find My iPhone, continued as part of iCloud while others, such as homepage publishing, quietly disappeared.

At £60 (US $99) a year for a single account, MobileMe wasn't cheap. Single accounts were limited to 20GB of storage; family packs to just twice that much split between five users, and they lacked browser-based apps like Pages, Numbers and Keynote that we now take for granted as part of iCloud.

The MobileMe domains remain active, so pointing a browser at me.com redirects you to iCloud, while MobileMe email addresses properly forward to their iCloud equivalents. It's not missed by many, and even Jobs himself was said to have torn a strip off its developers inside Apple, telling them ‘You've tarnished Apple's reputation. You should hate each other for having let each other down.’

Here's how to use iCloud Drive, and some alternatives to iCloud.

 

Sherlock

Ever wondered why Spotlight’s icon is a magnifier rather than an actual spotlight? It may well be a nod to Sherlock, the Mac’s original search tool, which went far beyond file and application hunting to provide the kind of results that are only now starting to reappear as we upgrade en masse to Yosemite. Sherlock’s icon was a deerstalker hat behind a magnifying glass. Drop the hat and you’re left with Spotlight.

It could search files stored on your Mac and connected drives, which meant you could be a lot freer when it came to choosing where you stored them. You could drop them wherever seemed to make sense and not have to remember months down the line where you left them. The most interesting aspect, though, was its series of plugins that let you search the web, pulling in data not only from search engines like Yahoo and Google, but stores and services, such as cinema times and bus routes. Various sources were built in and ready for use right away, including eBay, AppleCare and a dictionary.

Sherlock was introduced as part of Mac OS 8.5 and updated several times before being killed off in the move to Intel-based Macs.

 

Apple DOS

DOS? On a Mac? Yup. You may think that DOS was a precursor to Windows, but Apple had its own version for the Apple II and, as with the PC-based sibling, it was originally a text-based environment devoid of a graphical user interface (GUI).

The release of Apple DOS was a landmark moment in the life of the Apple II as it meant the machine could finally jettison its tape-based storage for a faster disk-based setup, allowing users to access their data almost instantaneously on dual-sided 5.25in media.

Apple DOS pre-dates 1984’s Macintosh launch. The first edition, version 3.1, was shipped in 1978 and the last, version 3.3, just two years later, although Apple did maintain the code for a further three years until shortly before the Macintosh shipped.

It was succeeded by ProDOS, also from Apple, which debuted in October 1983 and remained on sale just short of a decade. This introduced support for higher capacity 3.5in disks and, in the ProDOS 16 build that ran on the Apple IIGS, a GUI similar to the one we came to know (and love) on the Macintosh itself.

For more Apple history read:

Apple timeline in pictures

Steve Jobs and the first issue of Macworld

24 milestones in the Mac's 30-year history

30 Apple people from the history of the Mac

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