The 100 greatest Apple creations

Many millions of people have been drawn to Apple products for a variety of reasons. For some it was the intuitiveness of the Macintosh IIcx, a big beige slab that we could write and capture and process screenshots on. The first Apple experience for many others may have been the first iPod that revolutionised how we listen to music, or the eye-popping colours of the iMac G3 range that was so cool that everyone wanted one in their home. 

Although many of us use Apple products in a professional capacity, they have also become integrated into our social and family lives too, allowing us to record the growth of our children and speak face-to-face with loved ones on the other side of the planet. So there will undoubtedly be an Apple product that you cherish above all others. 

  • Find the full list of 200 greatest Apple products in iCreate #200

To mark its 200th issue, our sister magazine iCreate (subscribe here) asked its staff, readers and contributors past and present to vote for the greatest Apple creations of all time. These are the Macs, iDevices, gadgets and peripherals that have a special place in your hearts. 

As Apple faces what could be a landmark moment in its product design history (read our predictions of what might happen when Jony Ive leaves the company), we hope you enjoy this nostalgic look back through Apple’s greatest hits. These are the devices that helped to break new ground and redefine how we use and interact with technology today. Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for… the 100 greatest Apple creations. 

100. Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (2007)

Still loved, this keyboard was encased in solid aluminium and was the first in 27 years to ditch the Apple logo on the Command key. It also features two USB 2.0 ports at either end.

99. iPhone 7 (2016)

(Image credit: Future)

Similar in design to the iPhone 6 – but also available in the lovely new matte black and jet black options – the iPhone 7 also sported one other significant change in the exterior design: the omission of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Replaced by a second speaker grille (that also served as a vent for the internal barometer), the removal of the standard headphone jack meant that users had to either use the supplied EarBuds that connected via a Lightning connector or use their own preferred headphones with the Lightning-to-3.5mm connector adaptor that was also bundled with the device.

The iPhone 7 uses the Apple A10 Fusion 64-bit system-on-chip that provides, amongst many other great things, console-quality gaming while on the move.

98. iMac (2011)

(Image credit: Future)

The mid-2011 range of iMacs were reliable workhorses with Intel Thunderbolt technology and Intel Core i5 and i7 Sandy Bridge processors. Sadly, the release of macOS Mojave cut them adrift from Apple’s eco-system.

97. iPod touch 5th gen (2012)

(Image credit: Apple)

An iPhone in all but the actual cellular phoney bit, the iPod touch can be used to play music, take pictures, browse the web and play games. Mostly this has remained the same in design, although the low-end 16GB 5th generation models were particularly notable as they were sold without a rear-facing camera. Still hugely popular, the iPod touch 7th generation went on sale in May.

96. HomePod (2018)

(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s long-awaited smart speaker is designed to work with Apple Music to create a new way of discovering and interacting with music in your home. The HomePod features seven tweeters, a four-inch woofer and six microphones so that Siri can listen out for your commands. The sound quality, for the price, is brilliant.

95. Macintosh IIci (1989)

(Image credit: Future)

A more powerful version of the Macintosh IIcx, released earlier the same year, and featuring the same three expansion slots but with added speed and efficiency courtesy of 25MHz versions of the IIcx’s Motorola 68030 CPU and 68882 FPU chips. This, too, could be used in either vertical or horizontal orientations.

94. iPod Shuffle 1st gen (2005)

(Image credit: Future)

A cheaper MP3 player that was designed to be easily loaded with a selection of songs and to play them in a random order. It was also the first member of the iPod family to use flash memory.

93. iMac G5 20" (2004)

(Image credit: Future)

This is the iMac that kick-started the design trend of iMacs that has continued to this day. Ditching the detached base and display look of the G4, this iMac made the display the computer.

92. Magic Mouse 2 (2015)

(Image credit: Apple)

This wireless mouse features a multi-touch surface for scrolling and can detect gestures. The Magic Mouse 2 works with any Mac running macOS El Capitan or later and features a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged with a Lightning connector. Strangely, the port for the cable is on the underside of the mouse, meaning that you can’t actually use it while it is recharging. Comes in two colour variants – Silver and Space Grey.

91. iPod Radio Remote (2006)

This add-on was a convenient way for iPod users to skip tracks and adjust the volume, even when their iPod was in their pocket or backpack, and listen to FM radio while displaying the station and song info on their iPod screen. Connects between the iPod and the earphones.

90. LED Cinema Display (2008)

(Image credit: Future)

The 2008 update for the Cinema HD Display was this 24-inch beast that was modelled on the latest iMac, complete with aluminium surround. The display also came with a built-in iSight camera, mic and dual speaker system. The first Cinema Display with LED backlighting.

89. iPhone 4s (2011)

(Image credit: Future)

The 5th generation iPhone first introduced us to Siri (which is what the ‘s’ stood for). Apple’s intelligent personal assistant was exclusive to the iPhone 4s before being rolled out to all future generations of iPhone. The unit also featured an improved chipset.

88. Nike+ iPod (2006)

(Image credit: Future)

Consisting of a small transmitter that attached to your training shoe and communicated with a receiver plugged into your iPod, the Nike+ iPod measured distance and velocity and paved the way for connected sport apps as we know and use them today.

87. iPod Photo (2004)

(Image credit: Future)

Alongside the special U2 edition iPod, Apple also unveiled the iPod Photo in 2004 as a premium version of the standard 4th generation iPod. This device featured a 220x176 pixel LCD screen, supported multiple image formats and came with a cable that could connect it to your TV.

86. Photos (2014)

First released with iOS 8, Photos replaced Camera Roll as the default photo management app on iOS and also phased out iPhoto and Aperture when it came to Mac the following year. Photos makes it easy to edit and organise your entire picture library.

85. Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) (2018)

(Image credit: Future)

Designed exclusively for use with the 3rd generation iPad Pro, the second Apple Pencil ditches the Lightning connector in favour of USB-C and is now charged and paired using the magnetic Smart Connector on the side of the tablet.

84. iPad 3rd gen (2012)

The third coming of the iPad featured a Retina display, the new Apple A5X chip with quad-core graphics processor and a 5MP camera with HD 1080p video recording. Amazingly, this tablet only lasted seven months before the announcement of the iPad 4.

83. iPhone XS (2018)

Near-identical in design to the iPhone X, the XS features upgraded hardware in the A12 Bionic chip, a 5.85-inch OLED display and dual 12-megapixel rear cameras and one seven-megapixel front-facing camera. Replaced the iPhone X as the flagship iPhone after just 10 months.

82. AirDrop (2011)

First introduced with macOS Lion, AirDrop allows Mac and iOS users to transfer files quickly and easily between devices over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth without using Mail or mass storage devices. There is no restriction on the size of the files that can be transferred.

81. MacBook Pro with Retina Display 3rd gen (2015)

(Image credit: Future)

Thinner than its predecessor, the 15-inch MacBook Pro was the first to include a high-resolution IPS 2880x1800-pixel Retina Display and also boasted a reconfigured port set, including a second Thunderbolt port, an HDMI port and a thinner MagSafe port dubbed the ‘MagSafe 2’.

The Retina MacBook Pros were updated in early 2015 to include faster flash storage, increased battery life, an AMD Radeon R9 graphics card and the Force Touch trackpad. This new control interface uses pressure sensors to distinguish between the various levels of force being applied to the trackpad – much like 3D Touch on iOS. The result was a much more efficient MacBook with a trackpad that could be used for a lot more than pushing the cursor around the screen. The following year would introduce the Touch Bar to MacBooks, adding yet another new control thread.

80. Apple TV 2nd gen (2010)

The smaller 2nd generation Apple TV ran a version of iOS which gave it a smoother experience and a more modern feel when in use. The streaming of media became the default option and the 8GB flash storage ensured that buffering would be a thing of the past.

79. iPod Classic 6th gen (2007)

Up to 36 hours of battery life, a thinner form and redesigned interface made the final iPod Classic release a worthy product in a sea of many great devices. The 160GB of storage for a huge music library made it a near perfect portable entertainment device.

78. iMovie (1999)

iMovie brought the world of video editing to the world in a way that made it possible, and enjoyable, for everyone. Its power lies in the way it can handle complex data in the most efficient way, to the point that you can even edit video on an iPhone or iPad.

77. Apple Wireless Keyboard (2007)

Theoretically, the later Apple Wireless Keyboards should not be as usable as standard keyboards, but the opposite is true. The shallow keys and minimal use of colours make for a design that should not be easy on the fingers or the eyes. They do, however, offer the ability to input data and text extremely quickly once you get used to how they work. Battery life is immense and the connectivity side holds up thanks to a very stable Bluetooth connection. The newer versions are a world away from the original, which came with clicky keys, the need for four AA batteries and an older style on/off switch. 

As time passed, each of the wireless keyboards mirrored the style of the day and the forms became smaller and slimmer. There are no USB ports or extra features, but this is actually an advantage because you are left with a device that does exactly what it needs to all of the time.

76. AirPort Express 802.11g (2004) 

(Image credit: Future)

This very important and small product offered networking for up to 50 users, AirTunes (which was similar to what we know now as AirPlay) and enough ports to cater for wireless printing and music playback. To have these capabilities back then was staggering.

75. PowerBook G3 (1997)

(Image credit: Future)

During its lifetime the PowerBook G3 was the fastest laptop available thanks to the (up to) 292MHz processor. There were multiple options available in terms of memory, graphics and hard drive space and the design has a friendly form that remarkably does not look out of place today. It’s a genuine Apple classic and a treasured memory for anyone lucky enough to own one.

74. Apple Watch Nike+ Series 2 (2016)

(Image credit: Apple)

With 50 metres of water resistance, swimming tracking and much faster app performance, the Series 2 was more suited to sports and fitness than ever. Throw in the Nike branding and official Nike faces and you have a stylish sports assistant that oozes personality.

73. Thunderbolt Display (2011)

The Thunderbolt Display looks familiar, but it is the single Thunderbolt connection that makes all of the difference for gaming, graphics and many other activities. It is the one product that serious Apple fans want brought back more than any other.

72. Safari (2003)

Safari has a long history and one in which it had to battle hard against the bigger players in the early days. Over time, however, it has grown to be a stable and secure browser which ticks all of the boxes for the majority of Apple owners. It has few competitors.

71. Power Mac G4 MDD (2002)

(Image credit: Future)

The ‘Mirrored Drive Doors’ G4 brought dual-processors with level 3 caches to the line and also added superior graphics cards. The design is bold to say the least and the drive doors draw the eye to them every single time. It was powerful, big and a firm fan favourite.

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Ryan is the editor of iCreate magazine.