10 Rare Apple Products You Probably Didn't Know Existed

Over the course of its unique history, Apple has become known for many iconic, innovative, and even a few truly groundbreaking products; quite a few of which becoming a staple in our modern lives. Love it or hate it, but the iPhone line, for instance, certainly helped to bring about Apple's meteoric rise in popularity since its first unveiling in 2007 and has completely changed our modern world.

Looking back a bit further than that, the by now truly iconic iPod helped to popularize portable music players in the mainstream — something which had not been accomplished since Sony's Walkman came on the scene in 1979. Smartwatches became a thing after the Apple Watch was introduced in 2015. To say that Apple's products are emblematic in the tech world would be the understatement of the century.

Did you know, however, that besides the innovative products they're famous for today, there are also mugs, umbrellas, T-shirts, and the first commercially successful digital camera under $1,000 in their catalogue?

With Apple's latest announcement now behind us, here's a look at some of Apple's past products you might not have known existed.

Apple QuickTake

The company rarely gets credit for it, but Apple actually came out with the first affordable mainstream digital camera. By ditching the need to carry around a separate data processor, this digital camera from 1994 — with its compact design and under $1,000 price tag — made carrying a digital camera accessible to the average consumer. Designed in collaboration with Kodak and manufactured in Japan, the Apple QuickTake featured VGA resolution, a fixed 50mm-equivalent F/2 lens, an optical viewfinder, and an LCD display (via CNET).  

Though not well-known today, the QuickTake helped to pave the way for the digital point-and-shoot cameras still common among photographers. Though it didn't invent the imaging technology behind it, with this gadget Apple brought digital cameras into the mainstream consciousness. It could be said that its innovation with the QuickTake was a precursor to Apple's continued success down the line with the iPhone.

Apple Swiss Army Knife

Though the iPhone may be described as the Swiss Army Knife of our modern lives — with an app available for just about any situation under the sun — it still can't cut open a box for the latest gadget unveiling or open a bottle of celebratory beer or wine afterward. For that, there's the rare Apple Swiss Army Knife. 

Designed in collaboration with the Swiss brand Victorinox, maker of many of the common Swiss Army Knives available worldwide, Apple's version features everything you might need for celebrating your purchase. If you can find one on a site like eBay, you will not only get a true collector's item, but with it, you can also show even more brand loyalty during the inevitable unboxing videos by cutting open your newest Apple gadget boxes with this rare and unexpected gem in their product catalog.

Apple analogue wristwatch

The Apple Watch has been with us for more than half a decade now (feel old yet?), but before the world was introduced to the idea of smartwatches, the Apple Wristwatch adorned the wrists of happy collectors worldwide. 

While smartwatches are all the rage these days, this Apple Watch is only as smart as the person wearing it, however. Looking classically elegant with white numbers ringing the board and the "Think different" slogan against a black background, it can certainly compete in style with the newest Apple Watches. It might not track your steps but it tells the time just as efficiently as any other watch.

As an added bonus, the hour markers can be read from just about any angle, and no modern Apple Watch can hold a candle to the battery life of these vintage gems — no need to charge (via Apple Communities).

Speaking of vintage . . .

Macintosh 128k

1984 was quite a year for Apple. It was during the Super Bowl that year when the world was officially introduced to the Macintosh. Not wasting any time on specs or "boring" numbers, the message of Apple's historic 1984 commercial was clear: "Think Different," pitting a young, enthusiastic, brash tech startup against the established juggernaut of IBM. Directed by none other than Ridley Scott — the famous "Alien" and "Blade Runner" director — and featuring prominent athlete Anya Major (who appeared in Elton John's "Nikita" video just a year later), the unveiling commercial broke all records and catapulted Apple's viral fame into the Stratosphere (via The Drum).

Apart from the commercial itself, the Macintosh was a truly remarkable product for its time, ultimately helping to usher in the popularity of home PCs. Users could interact with the machine via the at the time "revolutionary" graphical user interface, rather than typing code into a boring old command line; alongside the quite expensive yet more affordable price of $2,495 (equivalent to $6,215 today — yes, Apple was always expensive) compared to its predecessor, it made computing accessible to the average middle-income person. Despite the still-high price tag, according to Games vs. Hardware, it sold 70,000 units within the first few months on the market, a remarkable achievement for the time.

Mickey's Mac Club pin

On to something very different, can you imagine Apple collaborating with Disney? Yes, the ubiquitous mouse was in cahoots with the fruitarian technology titan in the early '90s. Originally made for the Macintosh User Group at Walt Disney Studios, this discontinued pin's main feature is its price tag. It's a true rarity at this point and a Holy Grail for Apple Badge Collectors.

Produced in 1991 by Bruce Gordon, who was the creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering at the time, it was intended to be given away to Macintosh users at the Disney studios. Disney management didn't like the idea of the mighty Mickey Mouse endorsing other commercial products (except for their own) however, so the pin was very quickly pulled back and rebranded as "The Mac Club." These early pins, therefore, are extremely rare and desirable today (via Historic Tech).  

Apple IIGS Woz Edition

The other "Steve" of the dynamic duo who founded Apple, namely Steve Wozniak rather than Jobs, was the engineering wizard behind the first Apple Computer. After 10 years of collaboration between Wozniak's engineering skills and Jobs' marketing skills, the by then successful Apple Computer company decided to produce 50,000 limited-edition Apple IIGS computers featuring the Woz' engraved signature on the front. 

The Woz edition was released in 1986 and discontinued in 1993, according to My Old Computers. If you were wealthy enough to get one of these rare items back in the day, you could also mail your registration form to the company and would receive a certificate of authenticity signed not only by the 12 top engineers who worked on the computer but also signed by Woz himself — something perhaps even rarer to find than the computer, even in those days (via Business Insider).

The TAM (Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh)

Speaking of Anniversaries, ten years later, the TAM, which is short for Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh, was created for "the big 2-0." The TAM debuted in 1997 — marking a huge milestone in the company's history. The company didn't pull any punches with this product and, according to Business Insider, coming in at a whopping $7,499, this special edition was one of the most expensive products Apple has ever made — a fact that holds true to this day. 

Given that this was such a tremendous milestone for the now-iconic company, and one of the first projects Sir Jonathan Paul "Jony" Ive worked on with the company, an iconic one-of-a-kind design was thought-up by the engineers. The machine featured not one, but two Bose speakers alongside a satellite subwoofer. Another distinctive aspect of this machine is the startup chime, which is not found in ANY other Apple product to this day.

Various everyday items

The '80s were certainly a great time for Apple. Getting out of the shower in the morning, an Apple enthusiast could dry him or herself off with an Apple towel, get dressed, then head to the kitchen and sip coffee out of an authentic Apple coffee mug. They could then put on the aforementioned Apple Wristwatch, and head out of the door. What? It's raining outside? No problem at all, just grab an Apple umbrella. Yes, all of those products were available in the mid to late eighties.

The company also made an attempted foray into fashion — complete with baggy sweatshirts, windbreakers, patterned shirts, polos, sneakers, and even a children's clothing line. Hard to imagine today, but Apple was all over the place back then.

Would you wear iClothes given the chance? If nothing else, those Apple Sneakers will definitely catch people's attention — if you have a spare $15,000 tucked under your pillow. We all know Apple is no stranger to asking for exorbitant sums, these sneakers are ridiculously expensive because they were never produced for sale to the public. According to TheStreet, they were a special item made for Apple employees in the '90s.  

Even that sticker shock pales in comparison to the next item on our list, which will most certainly catch people's eyes — not only the aesthetics of the product itself, but the price tag.

Apple Product Red Mac Pro

As previously mentioned, it's no secret that Apple is expensive — quite expensive, nay bloody expensive, in fact. People often say that you will pay a much higher price for an Apple product than any other commodity product (e.g. an iPad versus a Samsung Android tablet) on the market.

Always a topic of heated debate, it is undeniably true that Apple products are on average quite a bit more immoderately priced compared to other hardware manufacturers' products. Whether this price difference is justified will forever be a point of contention in the tech world, but did you know, however, that the most expensive computer ever sold was an Apple Computer?

Sold for a staggering $977,000, the one and only, one-of-a-kind, Product Red Mac Pro — specifically designed by Apple's own Industrial Engineering superstar Jony Ive, alongside fellow engineer Marc Newson for Product Red's 2013 charity auction, it still holds the title of being the most expensive computer ever sold in history and the only official Red Mac Pro in the world (via Cult of Mac).

Seems but a pittance compared to the entry-level Mac Pro at $2,999, doesn't it?   

The Pippin @WORLD

As rare as finding The One Ring, the Pippin was Apple's attempt at building a gaming platform. Quite simply put, the Pippin was a set of consumer multimedia entertainment technologies that were used in collaboration with the Japanese gaming company Bandai and manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric to produce video game and multimedia consoles.

The Pippin @WORLD was an entertainment/media console produced for the American market and released in 1996. With it, according to this ad found through pippin fandom, consumers could browse the web, email, and use interactive games and multimedia CDs. They could also create, print, and save colorful documents.

The Pippin was a commercial failure for both Apple and Bandai. First of all, not many titles were released for the console at launch, and the majority of games for the system were released in Japan for the Japanese market only. Without those titles more widely available outside of Japan, having an internet browser, an e-mail application, and a few other utility/productivity "apps" just was not enough to make it commercially successful in the US. Bandai eventually pulled out of the partnership, and the Pippin was no more (via pippin.fandom).

Just to interject a quick bonus gaming tidbit here, the original HALO was actually commissioned for Apple and according to Apple Insider, was first introduced as a game for the Mac, by Steve Jobs himself.

A legacy of excellence

The Apple we know today arguably has a very solid track record of putting out consistent, premium products year after year. Its design principles and marketing seem to follow a determined pattern to keep its image consistent and the existing product lines intact. Putting out new iterations of their most popular products year after year, at this point it's a well-oiled corporate machine. Things were not always that streamlined, however, as this cursory glance at some daring, different, and exclusive products over the years have shown.

Since the company was founded in 1976, Apple has made a fair amount of memorable and unique products we all know and use today. Most of these products are readily available either online or in one of the many Apple Stores throughout major cities.

Many of Apple's older products, on the other hand, are so rare now that they have become highly sought-after collectibles, with quickly appreciating value. Yes, Apple is certainly expensive now, but nothing they currently have on the market compares to these 10 unique products of yesteryear you probably didn't know existed.