The Best, and Worst of Apple

Since 1984 Apple have sent a lot of Mac's out into the world. Some good, many great and few of what could be termed bad Apples. So out of all these Macs would any stand out as the best, and as the worst. Lets have a look. The following is a strictly personal and probably somewhat heretical list. But go with it. If you disagree with anything feel free to nominate your own personal favourites and lemons.

The Good
This could be a long list but in the interests of brevity lets confine ourselves the seriously good. Apple has always been good at laptops and there are several stand out designs including the lovely G3 PowerBook series more commonly known as the Wall Street and Pismo models.

Do you remember when laptops were this lovely?

Do you remember when laptops were this lovely?

These machines were innovative, fast and almost indestructible. They looked super stylish were early adopters of wifi connectivity. Journalists particularly took to them for their tank like ruggedness. It's successor the G4 PowerBook, also known as the Ti (for titanium) Book was also a hit with it's cutting edge metal design. Also worthy of mention is the current unibody construction MacBook Pro and particularly the retina display models, the original Retina models suffered form heat issues but currently ones are a delight with their glorious hi definition screens.
On the desktop front Apple have delivered a raft of excellent machines. A quick mention to the seriously unglamorous but excellent first gen Intel Mac Mini, often overlooked but a great machine at a superb price.For the older, and those with longer memories, the introduction of the PowerPC chipped 8600 series with it's innovative side opening box that made stealing - I mean upgrading - RAM super easy. A design concept that lived on into the previous generation of Mac Pro.

Not a toaster

Not a toaster

Other honourable mentions should go to the iMac G4 that was almost computer as art with its distinctive dome base and screen on a stick design, and the glorious G4 Cube, that WAS computer as art, even if it was a sales disaster. You know you want one!

The Bad
Well this is an interesting list. Apples bad is more often than not a result of questionable design decisions rather than bad machines as such. In many ways the current generation of iMacs are superb machines but, the deliberate lack of serviceability and upgradability is hard to justify, especially the 21in model where even the RAM is sealed in. Other bad apples include the G5 desktop which happily cooked itself into oblivion, the 2011 MacBook Pro which undid almost all of Apples reputation for laptop reliability by itself and the original MacBook Air which looked almost unbelievable when it was unveiled but proved to be slow, prone to hard drive failure and difficult to love in any way.

The Ugly
Which leaves us with the worst of the bunch. If these Mac's where school children they would be on permanent suspension. If they were cars they'd be Austin Allegro's. Well you get the idea. 

The Winner
Lets hear it of the 2011 model iMac 27in, particularly in quad core i7 guise. The ultimate evolution of the iMac line with all the speed, power and usability you could need. I do love the upgradability, you can stuff 32Gb of RAM into it in seconds. The screen is superb. It has many many ports for connectivity and best of all you can still take it apart and add stuff inside. Need more storage? 4TB hard rives fit right in. Need an SSD? Fine. Make your own fusion drive? Yup. Repair broken parts? All day long. A truly great Mac that will be giving it's owners fine service well into the next decade.

The Loser(s)
Well this is almost a tie. The two unlucky machines are years apart in age but both suffer from the same fault, Apples desire to give people the least amount of machine for the most amount of money. Lets hear a big raspberry for... The 2012 model 21in iMac entry level model and the 1992 Performa 6200.

A Performa 6200. Yum!

A Performa 6200. Yum!

First the old dog itself. Conceived in a brutally cynical way this machine suffered from a superbly flawed logic board design that halved the speed of the already weak processor in an effort to save money. The Mac itself redefined boring in it's beige box way. It was outdated as soon as you opened the box and Apple was happy to receive customers of nearly £1200 for the privelidge. And now, nearly twenty years later Apple figures we've all forgotten this so proudly gives us the entry level 20in iMac. Inside a crippled MacBook Air logic board ensures it's no speed demon. At least Apple has spared users the pain of extending the life of their machine by upgrading it. Pitiful amounts of RAM are soldered onto a logic board you can't get to through the factory sealed screen, which is bonded into place. It does come in a nice box though. A thoroughly dishonourable draw for last place.


Do feel free to nominate your own winners and losers.