Apple Pippin: Ahead of Its Time and Doomed Even Before the CD-ROM Booted - Doomlaser

Apple Pippin: Ahead of Its Time and Doomed Even Before the CD-ROM Booted

“We think that Pippin represents the Next Generation of a lot of the things you’ll be seeing from Apple”.

That is eerily prophetic, as the parallels are clear between the Pippin and the Apple TV, and more so with the more widespread contemporary trend of the set-top media box.

And from a developer’s standpoint, this promotional video highlights a lot of the the same things that Steve Jobs extolled during the iPhone introduction — It’s running the full version of Mac OS! Development is easy!

However the parallels between the Pippin and the 3DO are also easy to draw, and it’s easy to see why the system failed.

A third party, Bandai, manufactured and marketed the device. It was developed in the pre-NeXT acquisition mid 1990s, a grim time for Apple. To start the device, you had to insert a system disc into the 4x CD-ROM drive and wait for a streamlined version of Mac OS System 7 to boot. The graphics were all done in a PowerPC native version of QuickDraw, a graphics API that in its more than 20 years of existence, never supported more than a 1-bit alpha channel!

So many nightmares.

But the kernel of the idea was good. And it’s especially ironic today as the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii are all running on PowerPC architecture. The Pippin’s PowerPC 603e is the forebear of these consoles’ brains.

Watch carefully, and you will see the Pippin port of Bungie’s Marathon in the video — a game which you can now play on XBox Live Arcade. Here’s a full list of Pippin software releases. And more information including full hardware specs is available on the Pippin’s Wikipedia entry.

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