PC World’s 50 Best Tech Products: Apple, two in the top 10, seven overall

“So what’s the best tech product to come out of the digital age? And what qualifies a product as being ‘best?’ First and foremost, it must be a quality product. In many cases, that means a piece of hardware or software that has truly changed our lives and that we can’t live without (or couldn’t at the time it debuted). Beyond that, a product should have attained a certain level of popularity, had staying power, and perhaps made some sort of breakthrough, influencing the development of later products of its ilk,” Christopher Null writes for PC World.

“So after considering hundreds of products and engaging in many hours of painstaking debate, PC World presents the 50 best tech products. Note that we’re looking only at technology that has arisen since the dawn of the personal computer, so don’t expect to see the cotton gin and the transistor radio on the list. Instead, you’ll find gear that, in all likelihood, you used yourself at one point or another–and, in many cases, products you’re still using today,” Null writes.

Null writes, “And, oh yeah, you may think our choices are ridiculous or that we’ve left out much more important products. Have at us. Smack us down righteously.”

PC World’s 50 Best Tech Products:
1. Netscape Navigator (1994)
2. Apple II (1977)
3. TiVo HDR110 (1999)
4. Napster (1999)
5. Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983)
6. Apple iPod (2001)
7. Hayes Smartmodem (1981)
8. Motorola StarTAC (1996)
9. WordPerfect 5.1 (1989)
10. Tetris (1985)
11. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 (1994)
12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)
13. Atari VCS/2600 (1977)
14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986)
15. RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000)
16. 3dfx Voodoo3 (1999)
17. Canon Digital Elph S100 (2000)
18. Palm Pilot 1000 (1996)
19. id Software Doom (1993)
20. Microsoft Windows 95 (1995)
21. Apple iTunes 4 (2003)
22. Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
23. Iomega Zip Drive (1994)
24. Spybot Search & Destroy (2000)
25. Compaq Deskpro 386 (1986)
26. CompuServe (1982)
27. Blizzard World of Warcraft (2004)
28. Aldus PageMaker (1985)
29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
30. Apple Mac OS X (2001)
31. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
32. Eudora (1988)
33. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
34. Apple Airport Base Station (1999)
35. Brøderbund The Print Shop (1984)
36. McAfee VirusScan (1990)
37. Commodore Amiga 1000 (1985)
38. ChipSoft TurboTax (1985)
39. Mirabilis ICQ (1996)
40. Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 (1992)
41. Apple HyperCard (1987)
42. Epson MX-80 (1980)
43. Central Point Software PC Tools (1985)
44. Canon EOS Digital Rebel (2003)
45. Red Hat Linux (1994)
46. Adaptec Easy CD Creator (1996)
47. PC-Talk (1982)
48. Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997)
49. Microsoft Excel (1985)
50. Northgate OmniKey Ultra (1987)

Full article with descriptions and rationales for each of the 50 products here.
Although PC World explains why they chose the Apple Macintosh Plus (“which corrected several defects of the original Mac”), we’d put the original Mac 128k atop the entire list, as it’s the model for basically all personal computers in use today, whether they be real Macs or upside-down and backwards insecure fake Macs running Microsoft’s derivative Windows OS on boxes assembled by others. We’d also rank Mac OS X much higher than 30th. And, where’s the Newton, PowerBook 100, and the Commodore 64?

Still, it’s nice to see Apple dominating such a list with 14% of the list’s products and 20% of the top 10.

Related articles:
Innovative Apple has changed the course of the personal computer revolution many times – April 02, 2006
Mobile PC names Apple PowerBook 100 the “Number One Gadget of All Time” – February 19, 2005
BusinessWeek: Steve Jobs changed the world three times – with the Apple II, Pixar, and the iPod – October 27, 2004
Newsweek: Steve Jobs’ Macintosh changed personal computers forever – March 02, 2003


  1. Good to see the Amiga on there. That thing was so ahead of its time, we’re STILL playing catch-up.

    And I agree with MDN regarding the Commodore 64. The C64 was color when the Mac was still monochrome.


  2. This list is reflective of votes by a younger generation that wasn’t around when the Macintosh was released.

    Look how high the iPod made it on the list.

    Where the hell is Pagemaker?

    (sucky as PM was, it deserves mention)

  3. I dunno…kinda hard to argue with the top 10, though I might argue that the Apple II belongs first in the list since it was really the first personal computer, which made all that other stuff possible later on. But given that we’re in the internet age, the browser’s not a bad top choice.

  4. CPUs, productivity software, printers, games ….

    Hard to make sense of the ranking with so many different categories.

    Tetris is a better tech product than OS X? Surely not.

    This was simply a popularity contest.

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