Pippin logo

The Pippin platform logo.

Pippin was an open multimedia technology platform, designed by Apple Computer, and marketed as PiPP!N by Bandai and Katz Media. According to Apple, Pippin was directed at the home market as "an integral part of the consumer audiovisual, stereo, and television environment."[1]

Pippin was based on a run-time version of Apple's Macintosh operating system and second-generation Power Macintosh hardware, and designed to load software from "Pippinized" CD-ROMs.[1]


Special Pippin Briefing 1994-11

Items from an early Pippin developer briefing, held in November 1994.

In February 1994, Apple Computer began internally developing a low cost consumer architecture, code-named "Pippin", which would be based on a customized version of their Macintosh operating system.[2][3] Bandai CEO Makoto Yamashina (山科 誠) sought Apple to develop a new game system for them due to the ease of use of Macintosh computers.[4] Bandai initially envisioned a simplified Macintosh Classic II with the ability to play Macromedia Director-based CD-ROMs. On November 10-11, 1994, a "Special Pippin Briefing" was held with about 30 CD-ROM developers at Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, where the 68k architecture of older Macintoshes was determined to be unsatisfactory.[5][6] In Tokyo on December 13, 1994, Apple announced its partnership with Bandai to jointly develop the Pippin platform, which would run on more advanced second-generation Power Macintosh hardware.[1] This was followed by a "Pippin Developer's Workshop" in Tokyo on December 15, 1994.[6]

Pippin at TokyoToyShow95

Bandai's Pippin exhibit at the 1995 Tokyo Toy Show.

Eric R. Sirkin, Apple's director of Macintosh OEM products, assembled a team in Cupertino, California to design the system.[7] The console was to be called the Pippin Power Player and had initially been scheduled for release during the 1995 holiday shopping season.[8] Prototypes were shown at MILIA '95,[9] Macworld Expo Tokyo '95,[10] the 1995 Tokyo Toy Show,[11] and the 1996 Consumer Electronics Show.[12] By the time the first consoles began shipping in Japan as the Pippin Atmark in March 1996, Bandai had spent $93 million on marketing and development.[13]

The American version, the Pippin @WORLD, was unveiled on May 15, 1996, the day before the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.[14] However, it did not ship until the following December, missing much of the 1996 holiday shopping season.[15]

On June 4, 1996, Katz Media announced in Paris that it was joining the partnership to market the platform in Europe.[16] Bandai produced the consoles as an OEM for Katz Media.[17] The KMP 2000 began shipping in Europe on March 17, 1997.[18] During Marché international des Inforoutes et du Multimédia '97, Groupe Arborescence announced a partnership with Katz Media to develop and market a new Euro-Canadian console based on the Pippin for the Canadian market.[19]

Platform goalsEdit

Pippin motherboard

A Pippin Atmark motherboard.

By September 1996, Apple had been demonstrating the Pippin 2.0 specification, to create a convergence device that would have included support for DVD, MPEG-2, AC-3, and FirewWire (IEEE 1394) with a faster PowerPC processor, at prices starting under $500.[20]

According to Apple Computer at IEEE Compcon '97 in San Jose, California:[21]

Pippin represents the first industry attempt to repackage modern personal computer hardware and software in a form that is more acceptable and affordable to a technophobic consumer. Its design goals represented compromises between a mutually competing set of requirements: performance, "ease of use", system software footprint, time-to-market, TV-centric, manufacturing costs, etc. It is the first commercially-deployed appliance to be optimized for the multimedia-rich home and school marketplaces. All technical goals of the program were achieved, resulting in a flexible and simple-to-operate multimedia consumer appliance.

Reception and discontinuationEdit

Bandai originally set sales targets of 200,000 units in Japan and 300,000 units in the United States. Analyst Fujine Yasuaki (藤根靖晃) of Smith Barney International was less optimistic, projecting sales to reach half of the target.[13] Apple Computer hoped to sell 3 million units within the first 3 years, but was struggling with managerial dysfunction at the time and had assigned only 25 full-time employees to the project.[7][22] By September 1, 1996, Apple ceded control of Pippin developer support to Bandai.[23] In that same month, an online poll conducted by MacUser (USA) magazine found that a plurality of participants preferred that Apple cancel the Pippin over other product lines, such as Newton and Performa.[24] In March 1997, Apple laid off 4,100 employees as its Macintosh business was failing.[7]

Yuji Hirano, president of Bandai Digital Entertainment, denied a report by Nihon Keizai Shinbun on May 11, 1997 that Bandai would withdraw the Pippin platorm.[25][26] To counter reports of poor sales in the consumer market,[27] Bandai organized a Pippin @WORLD Business Unit to refocus the platform towards vertical markets such as corporate intranets.[28]

Steve Jobs, one of the original Apple co-founders, returned to the company while it was facing financial difficulty, and was named Interim CEO on September 16, 1997.[29] While reorganizing Apple to return it to profitability, Jobs eliminated many underperforming projects, such as the Pippin.[30] After only selling 30,000 and 12,000 units respectively in Japan and the United States,[31] Bandai announced on February 27, 1998 that it would officially abandon the Pippin platform and close its subsidiary Bandai Digital Entertainment on March 13, 1998.[32] At the time, over 50,000 unsold units remained in inventory and Bandai's losses from the Pippin were estimated at $214 million dollars.[31] Bandai ended support for remaining users on December 31, 2002.[5]

Apple would not return to the consumer set-top market until 2007 with the Apple TV, the digital media player and microconsole which would go on to sell over 25,000,000 units by 2015.[33]



Unreleased models and prototypesEdit

Main article: Pippin prototypes


Pippin docks

Various Pippin expansion docks


Included Pippin supportEdit



Bandai had expected to launch about 200 CD-ROM titles for the Pippin platform, with an emphasis on teaching and learning.[13] However, only about half of that number had reached the market.

Video galleryEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bandai Pippin FAQ, The Mac Geek. Accessed 2017-04-10.
  2. Mais qui a créé le design de la Pippin ? (French) by Pierre Dandumont, Le Journal du Lapin. 2019-03-10.
  3. AppleDesign: The Work of the Apple Industrial Design Group, p.263-264 by Paul Kunkel and Rick English. Graphis Inc. 1997-10-01.
  4. Interview - 'We Sell Dreams to Kids' by Cesar Bacani and Murakami Mutsuko, CNN. 1996-04-19.
  5. 5.0 5.1 On the Apple PiPP!N by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels. 2012-11-18.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Un goodies Pippin : un sweatshirt Pippin (French) by Pierre Dandumont, Le Journal du Lapin. 2018-10-14.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Mac gaming console that time forgot by Richard Moss, Ars Technica. 2018-03-24.
  8. 'Morphing' Into The Toy World's Top Ranks by Andrew Pollack, The New York Times. 1995-03-12.
  9. Bandai Pippin Image Archive by Bryan G. Villados, The Mac Geek 2017-04-15.
  10. Macworld Expo/SF 1996 Report by Koya Matsuo, YouTube. 2016-05-10.
  11. 1995年東京おもちゃショー オーレンジャー ビーファイター by kbigstone, YouTube. 2013-01-19.
  12. 5 decades of CES hits and epic flops - 1996: Apple Pippin by Julianne Pepitone, CNN Money. 2011-01-04.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Power Ranger - A Japanese Toymaker Invades Cyberspace by Cesar Bacani and Murakami Mutsuko, CNN. 1996-04-19.
  14. E3 and Other Adventures in Electronic Entertainment by Jake Richter, PC Graphics Report. 1996-05-21.
  15. @World: Pippin shippin' by David Morgenstern, MacWEEK vol.10-46. 1996-12-02. Archived 1996-12-20.
  16. Katz Media Signs Worldwide Licensing Agreement for Apple's Pippin Technology, Katz Media. Archived on 1997-07-13.
  17. Bandai and Katz Media announce cooperation to develop European Pippin Market, Katz Media. Archived on 1997-07-13.
  18. Katz Media Begins Shipping Pippins in Europe, Katz Media. Archived on 1997-07-13.
  19. Press: Arborescence launches the first Canadian-content Network Centric computer, Katz Media. 1997-05-22. Archived 1997-07-13.
  20. Options will make Pippin 2 a home, network computer by David Morgenstern, MacWeek vol.10-37. 1996-09-30. Archived 1996-12-20.
  21. Pippin: adapting PC technology for the technophobe by Eric R. Sirkin, V. Mehra, E. Keshishoglou, L. Madar, A. Carter, W. Knott; Apple Computer, Inc. 1997-02-23.
  22. Apple's Pippin: A Pip--or a Pipsqueak? by Peter Burrows, BusinessWeek. 1996-04-01. Archived 2013-06-04.
  23. Pippin News: Bandai Takes Responsibility for Pippin Developer Support in the United States, The Apple Pippin Market Development Group. 1996-09-01. Archived 1997-04-14.
  24. Online poll, MacUser p.28. Ziff-Davis. 1995-09.
  25. What's New? 5月11日付け日本経済新聞 「バンダイピピン撤退」の記事について (Japanese), Atmark Channel Home Page. Archived 1997-06-29.
  26. Bandai Stops Making Pippin Atmark Machines, Wall Street Journal. 1997-05-12.
  27. Pippin @World gets Ethernet, CNET News. 1997-05-21. Archived 2004-11-25.
  28. Background of BDE, Studio02. Accessed 2018-06-25.
  29. Jobs named interim Apple CEO, C|NET. 1997-09-16.
  30. For the good of the company? Five Apple products Steve Jobs killed by Casey Johnston, Ars Technica. 2011-08-25.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Bandai kisses goodbye to Pippin console., Screen Digest. 1998-03-01.
  32. Bandai Says Goodbye to Pippin by Chris Johnston, GameSpot. 1998-02-27.
  33. Apple TV has grown from a 'hobby' into a nice little business by Matt Rosoff, Business Insider. 2015-03-17.
  34. Magazines and advertisements for the Pippin (French) by Pierre Dandumont, Le Journal du Lapin. 2018-08-25.
  35. Deltis 230 MO Docking Turbo (Japanese), Olympus. Archived 1997-06-22
  36. Spec. by chemy cano, Pipp!n@Archive (Japanese). Archived 2007-02-05.
  37. Pippin @World gets Ethernet, CNET News. 1997-05-21. Archived 2004-11-25.
  38. Arborescence Launches KMP 2000 with New Peripherals, The Arborescence Group. 1997-05-22. Archived 1998-01-29.

See alsoEdit

  • Apple Interactive Television Box (1994-1996), Apple's previous effort to develop a set-top box.
  • Mac mini (2005-present), Apple's small desktop computer which added HDMI output in 2010.
  • Macintosh TV (1993-1994), Apple's first attempt to integrate a computer and television.
  • Pioneer MPC-LX200-TV (1996-1997), the only Macintosh clone with television capabilities.
  • Playdia (1994-1996), Bandai's previous game console system.
  • WonderSwan (1999-2003), Bandai's next game console system, which was handheld.

External linksEdit