Pippin had a short but fascinating history, starting as the way Apple expanded into the multimedia market and ending up as a failed gaming console created by Bandai.
Let’s go back to the early 90s, a few years after Steve Jobs was fired and during a particularly difficult phase in Apple’s history. Wanting to expand to more households, Apple has created an open hardware platform based on the Macintosh operating system. It was described at the time as a “reduced Macintosh” that runs on a classic Mac OS and runs a PowerPC processor. This was not a retail product, but a platform that Apple intended to license to various companies that could make it their own modifications. It can be used for education, as a home computer or as a multimedia hub.
Leading toy maker and game developer Bandai has stepped up, developing Apple’s prototype “Pippin Power Player” in the Pippin Atmark game console in Japan and Pippin @World in the US. Powered by a PowerPC 603 32-bit processor with 6MB of RAM, Pippin Atmark / @ World was not the most powerful system, but it had some innovative features, including an NTSC / PAL switch, a boomerang-shaped controller, a game that can run on a Mac desktop and full-size keyboard support.
The console failed, and apart from a small license agreement with Norwegian company Katz, Apple found no other suitors. There were three main reasons why Pippin failed: it was launched for $ 600 (over $ 1,000 today!), There were several compelling games to play (especially in the US), and Sony, Sega and Nintendo already had market stagnation.
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