HAPPY BIRTHDAY, APPLE! you’re 40.
To celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of the company’s 15 most pivotal products, starting with the design of the iPhone and ending with the San Bernardino iPhone. But to see all of Apple’s products from the past four decades, at once, look to “The Insanely Great History of Apple 3.0” ($90)—a comprehensive visual overview of Apple’s oeuvre, from the folks at Pop Charts Lab. The Brooklyn infographic-makers created the original chart in 2011, when the iPad 2 was the latest innovation. Now, they’ve updated it to include everything up to the iPhone SE and 9.7” iPad Pro, both of which were added to Apple’s lineup after the recent Apple event in Cupertino.
The updated poster, like the original, is organized by year and device category (software, all-in-ones, handhelds, and so on). You can watch as Apple shrinks from the bulky Lisa to the Apple Watch, but you can also see, quite clearly, the impact of Steve Jobs’ return to the company, in 1997. The y-axis of “The Insanely Great History of Apple 3.0” shows the year, and the top half of the chart is a cluster of tiny icons. Toward the poster’s bottom half (which chart’s the period after Apple bought NeXT, and Jobs returned), the data visualization becomes sparser. Apple rolled out the bulbous, colorful iMac, the iBook, and, a few years later, the iPod. The trend toward fewer offerings reflects a shift in Apple’s strategy: Rather than asking consumers to choose between a slew of options, Apple would choose for them.
The post-Jobs years have followed that trend, with the exception of the handheld category, where options remains an important selling point. You can see it spelled out in the data, on the bottom-righthand corner of the poster: it’s a swarm of gadgets, in a range of sizes.