Further to last week's poll, which saw Macworld online readers vote Apple's one-button mouse "Apple's most foolish invention", readers have this week voted Apple's iPod its "most brilliant invention".
The market-leading, headline-grabbing, music-playing iPod gathered 39 per cent of the 1,808 votes cast, miles ahead of the next three contenders – the ill-fated Cube, the legendary Newton, and the innovation that is FireWire – which each received just 10 per cent of the vote.
The Cube, which 4 per cent of readers last week described as Apple's most foolish invention, was unveiled at Macworld Expo New York in July 2000 and didn't even make it to its first birthday.
The Newton, one of the first PDAs, was released in 1997 and could recognize handwriting, Apple claimed. It was deemed "foolish" by 3 per cent of readers last week. Apple dropped the Newton in February 1998.
Apple's Web site describes how it invented FireWire in the mid 1990s and shepherded it to become the established cross-platform industry standard IEEE 1394. FireWire has been widely adopted by digital peripheral companies as the high-speed serial input/output technology for connecting digital devices such as digital camcorders and cameras to desktop and portable computers, claims Apple.
The original G3 iMac, announced in May 1998 as the "computer for the new millennium", received 9 per cent of the vote. The CRT Mac went through a number of colour changes, ranging from the fruity – Bondi, Blueberry, Strawberry, Lime, Tangerine and Grape – to the funky – Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian. The CRT iMac was discontinued last year as the flat-panel iMac took hold.
The flat-screened G4 iMac took another 7 per cent of the vote. The updated model, launched in January 2002, has been said to resemble everything from a sunflower (according to designer Jonathan Ive) to a Pixar-style lamp (Pixar being Apple CEO Steve Jobs other company).
One-button bounces back
Macworld readers seem undecided on the status of the one-button mouse – Apple's attempt at "keeping things simple", according to Mac-mastermind Jef Raskin. According to 7 per cent, it was Apple's most brilliant invention, despite receiving 34 per cent of votes dismissing it as foolish last week.
Defending the one-button design, one reader said: "I think the one button mouse was one of the best inventions from Apple. I have trained lots of people on both Macs and PCs and find that multiple buttons are confusing. I recall one gentleman in particular who really struggled to master the simple click. It seems to be only gamers and high-end users who are interested in multiple buttons, track pads and such".
Although applauded worldwide for being "groundbreaking", Apple's iTunes Music Store only received 6 per cent of the vote, but considering Apple's failure to provide the service in the UK and Europe this is perhaps not surprising.
As one reader said: "Us in the UK have yet to sample the delights of legal music downloading from iTunes Music Store".
The least-popular options were the PowerBook Duo, which received 2 per cent of the vote, and with just 1 per cent, the QuickTake Camera.
The PowerBook Duo was Apple's attempt at a fully functional desktop computer that could also be used as a portable machine – it came with a docking station that could contain more RAM and a larger hard-drive. The first Duo ran on a 25MHz processor and featured 4MB of RAM. Launched in 1992, it was discontinued in October 1993.
The QuickTake (pictured) was an early digital camera, launched in 1994. It offered a 640-x-480-pixel resolution, attached to a Mac using a serial interface, and was bundled with software that helped users manage their photos, and even build Web pages where they could share them online – perhaps hinting at the way iPhoto users manage digital photographs today. The original QuickTake resembled a pair of binoculars and disappeared from Apple's list of products in 1996.