All the things Wired got hilariously wrong in its legendary 1997 story on how to 'save' Apple

In June 1997, tech magazine Wired published a legendary issue about Apple, and the problems facing the then-struggling Cupertino technology company.

Founder Steve Jobs had been kicked out of the company. Sales were down, forcing Apple to re-hire him. Microsoft was the dominant company in PCs. The article was one of the best-read stories in tech at the time and came packaged in a cover that remains a classic.

Wired’s editorial staff gave 101 suggestions on how to “save Apple.” Most of the ideas were prescient — running a great image campaign, developing a better app ecosystem, giving Steve Jobs “as much authority as he wants in new product development,” and simplifying its PC product line, for example.

But some their other suggestions were dead wrong.

SUGGESTION #1: 'Admit it. You're out of the hardware game. Outsource your hardware production, or scrap it entirely, to compete more directly with Microsoft without the liability of manufacturing boxes. '

The Apple PowerBook 3400c, released in 1997.

REALITY: Apple went on to produce some of the most successful consumer electronics of all time. Its Macs, MacBooks, iPads and iPhones have sold hundreds of millions of units, and are a driving force for innovation in the industry.

Apple CEO Tim Cook admires an iMac.

REALITY: Rather than talking 'explicitly about processor speed,' Apple has made its naming strategy as simple as possible -- the 'iPhone 6,' the 'MacBook Air,' etc. As a result, its products are far more memorable than its competitors'.

An iPad.

SUGGESTION #3: 'Sell yourself to IBM or Motorola, the PowerPC makers. You can become the computer division that Motorola wants or the alternative within IBM. This would give the company volume for its PowerPC devices and leverage for other PowerPC offerings.'

Visitors walk past the IBM booth at the 9th China International Software Product & Information Service Expo in Nanjing, Jiangsu province September 6, 2013.

REALITY: With a market cap of $740 billion, Apple is now four times the size of Motorola ($12.6B) and IBM ($168.7B) combined. It even has enough cash lying around to buy IBM outright.

REALITY: Apple has steadily made its devices less and less upgradeable and customisable. When people realised the iPhone battery couldn't be changed, there was uproar, but much of the industry subsequently followed suit. You can't even upgrade the RAM in new MacBooks. People may complain, but it doesn't stop them buying the devices.

The new MacBook's internal components. You're not upgrading these any time soon.

SUGGESTION #5: 'Bring back John Sculley. He would provide a convenient whipping boy.'

REALITY: When Sculley was CEO, the company languished and lost its way. Under Steve Jobs, and subsequently Tim Cook, Apple has become the largest and most profitable company on the planet -- by a significant margin.

Tim Cook (L) and Steve Jobs (R).

SUGGESTION #7: 'Abandon the Mach operating system you just acquired and run Windows NT kernel instead. This would let Mac run existing PC programs.'

REALITY: At the time, Microsoft had the richer app ecosystem, but 17 years later, the opposite is true. Apple stuck to its guns, succeeded, and now Microsoft has even announced that its new devices will run iOS and Android apps, so sparse is its modern selection.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

SUGGESTION #8: 'Speed sells. Push your advantage on the speed of the processor. This summer, you'll release Macs using 450- and 533-MHz processors. Your lead over Intel will be remarkable. Brag about this.'

Is speed everything?

REALITY: Apple's devices rarely have the best technical specifications on the market these days. For the price, you can get a far more powerful Windows machine. But people still buy Apple -- because it's not the 'speed' that sells, it's the entire user experience.

Too fast!

REALITY: Apple shows little interest in the lower end of the market. Instead, it has targeted the high-end, where the majority of the profits are. And it has worked really, really well -- in Q4 of 2014, Apple raked in 89% of all profits in the entire smartphone industry.

Tim Cook knows what he's looking for.

REALITY: Nonprofit? At the end of 2014, Apple had the most profitable quarter of any company *ever*.

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