Remember the Last Time Apple Tried to Launch a Video Game Console?

By Adam Clark Estes on at

With Apple’s big event just a few hours away, everybody is getting excited about a new gaming-focused Apple TV. But you might not realise that the Cupertino’s been down this road before. A few times, in fact.

Dan Frommer just published a fun retrospective into Apple’s long and sordid history with TV gadgets. It dates all the way back to 1993 when Apple actually released a 14-inch television set that cost a whopping $2,100 / £1,365 at the time. (That’s about $3,500 /£2,275 adjusted for inflation.) Other highlights include the interactive set-top box from the mid-90s as well as the introduction of Front Row, a remote-controlled feature released in 2005 for OS X.

But the wackiest—and most relevant—throwback thing has to be Pippin. This multimedia platform was essentially a Power Macintosh that had been repurposed into a video game console. The basic idea was to make it easy to play CD ROMs on your television set, a curious goal that could have given the cutting edge Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation a run for their money. Except that it didn’t. Pippin was a short-lived project that died after Steve Jobs returned to the company. The only company that ever released a Pippin system was Bandai. The white Atmark console (pictured above) went on sale in Japan, while a black @World device came out in the United States. Both failed.

But that was, like, 20 years ago! Apple is a much more polished company today, and it’s already become a mobile gaming giant. Whether they can finally make that success translate into living rooms around the world remains to be seen. We’ll see tonight how the Apple TV stacks up against the TV gadgets of Apple’s past. [Quartz]