What’s the most difficult thing about listing the 30 most significant products in Apple’s 30-year history? Limiting your list to just 30 entries.
When Macworld editors first came up with the idea of celebrating Apple’s 30 years of existence by selecting an equal number of interesting, memorable, and just plain cool releases from the company, we worried that the tail end of our list would be populated by obscure products from yesteryear that few people remembered or ever really cared about. Those fears turned out to be baseless—our initial list of significant products produced by Apple in the last 30 years was nearly twice as long as we intended it to be. Subsequent cuts got the list down to 30, but not without some notable omissions (which we expect to hear about in our reader forums).
Our final list (which we’ll be updating all week long) focuses on the 30 products we felt had the biggest impact in the last 30 years—on the computing industry, on the way Mac users worked, and even on future products that Apple developed. Our choices span all three decades of Apple’s history. We’ve selected memorable hardware and software (or, in some cases, creations that really wouldn’t be considered either one). And the list includes both smash hits as well as commercial failures that, nevertheless, made a significant contribution to the Mac landscape.
The most difficult thing about making a list like this may be keeping the selections down to 30. But the best thing about it is hearing what you would pick—as you look through our choices, let us know the products you would have tabbed instead.
No. 1: Macintosh 128k No. 2: iMac No. 3: iPod No. 4: Apple II No. 5: iTunes Music Store No. 6: Mac OS X No. 7: LaserWriter No. 8: Titanium PowerBook G4 No. 9: QuickTime No. 10: iMac Core Duo No. 11: iLife No. 12: iBook No. 13: AirPort No. 14: Mac mini No. 15: Final Cut Pro No. 16: Power Mac G5 No. 17: AppleScript No. 18: The Apple decal No. 19: Fifth-generation iPod No. 20: MacWrite and MacPaint No. 21: iTunes No. 22: System 7 No. 23: PowerBook 100 series No. 24: Hypercard No. 25: Mac II No. 26: Power Mac G4 Cube No. 27: XServe RAID No. 28: Newton No. 29: First-generation Power Macs No. 30: 20th Anniversary Mac