Apple has rejoined the EPEAT green list it withdrew its products from recently. And Apple’s senior vice-president of hardware engineering Bob Mansfield was surprisingly candid when explaining the decision:

“I recognise this was a mistake,” Mansfield wrote, about the decision to opt out of the registry of environmentally sound products. “Starting today, all eligible products are back on EPEAT.”

So what other volte-faces has Apple pulled over the years? Let’s take a look.


Apple calls netbooks “just cheap laptops,” then launches its own netbook

At the launch of the iPad in January 2010, Apple’s Steve Jobs said in order for a product to exist somewhere between the laptop and the smartphone, it needs to be “far better” than both at fulfilling certain functions. And what functions would these be? Web browsing, email, showing photos and video, playing music and games, and reading ebooks. Well what about netbooks? They were big at the time, and they sat somewhere between a laptop and a smartphone.

“Netbooks aren’t better at anything,” Jobs proclaimed. “They’re slow, they have low quality displays, and they run clunky old PC software… They’re just cheap laptops.”

Fast forward nine months, and Jobs is on stage again, asking, “What would happen if an iPad and a MacBook hooked up?” The answer is the 11.6-inch MacBook Air that Jobs was there to announce. Which is what many would call Apple’s version of a netbook. Though with a starting price of £849, it certainly couldn’t be considered cheap.

iPhone App Store

Apple wouldn’t release the iPhone SDK, then opened the world’s biggest App Store

The iPhone launched running web apps only. And that was how Steve Jobs wanted to keep it.

At the launch, Jobs said: “The full Safari engine is inside of iPhone. And so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, they can send an email, they can look up a location on Google Maps.

“And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today. So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today.”

Jobs didn’t even want to talk about the possibility of opening the handset up to third parties, according to Walt Mossberg’s biography. At first, at least. He feared Apple didn’t have the bandwidth to police all the apps submitted.

Piracy and iPhone jailbreaking changed his mind, of course. The App Store passed 25 billion downloads in March.

Mac App Store

Steve Jobs emails that there’ll be no Mac App Store, then launches one

Jobs liked replying to the odd fan email. You never knew if yours would be one of the chosen few, however, as his missives came seemingly at random.

Fernando Valente, a developer for Chairo Software, did get a reply. He emailed Jobs asking if there was any truth in the then rumours of a Mac App Store. Jobs’ response? “Nope.”

Then Apple launched the Mac App Store in January 2011, with more than a thousand apps up for grabs on day one.


Apple says iTunes will never use subscriptions, then launches iTunes Match

In a previously unseen interview from 2003, Jobs told TIME Magazine’s Laura Locke that he thought subscription music services had “completely failed.” He went on to say that “nobody wants to rent their music.”

While Apple is yet to launch a rival to Spotify, it has launched iTunes Match, which lets you store your tunes in the cloud. And all for just £21.99 a year. Apples and oranges? Maybe at this stage. But with all of Apple’s music rivals sticking to the story that ‘a la carte’ is on the way out, how long before iTunes Match evolves?

Size matters?

And a smaller iPad?

When Apple announced its fiscal Q4 results for 2010, Steve Jobs slammed 7-inch tablets. A 7-inch screen is too small for a tablet, Jobs reasoned. It’s so small, in fact, that whoever makes them should sell sandpaper along with the devices, so whoever buys them can “sand down their fingers to around a quarter of their present size.”

Well he wasn’t one to mince his words.

But now we’re seeing a lot of rumours regarding an iPad mini that’ll be around the 7- or 8-inch mark. More rumours came just this morning, in fact. Could this be the biggest U-turn of all? Watch this space…

  • Tom

    Wow, what a poor article.A MacBook Air is worlds away from a netbook, featuring an i5 or i7 processor, nothing at all like a netbook.
    iTunes match is, as you’ve admitted nothing like subscription music, so another non-u-turn.
    And iPad size? A u-turn based on an unconfirmed rumour?

  • Doug

    Wow! I have to say this is a crazy reach!

    You seriously believe that Apple releases the iPhone June 29 2007 with no intention to have a full SDK, and then 8+ months later Apple releases a developer ready full SDK and 4 months after that they have the full AppStore up and running?


    The macbook Air is an ultra book not a net book.
    iTunes Match is a cloud service not a streaming service.

    When Jobs talked about things Apple was not going to do, he normally gave good reasons why (no phone because carriers are too difficult to work with) and the fact that they found ways to get around those difficulties is not a Uturn, it is simply overcoming obstacles and selling what you have, not what people imagine.

    But you keep writing and see if you can get you hit count up.

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