Forgive me if you’ve already seen this — and nearly a quarter million people already have, according to YouTube — but I just stumbled across this video and thought I’d share it on what’s shaping up as a slow day for Apple news.

It’s a photographic history of the company set to Fiona Apple’s version of “Across the Universe” (from the movie “Pleasantville”).

The video’s provenance is uncertain; it was posted on BuzzNewsroom by “Christophe” on Dec. 15, 2008 — just before some of us got distracted by the news that Steve Jobs was skipping Macworld.

At one level, it’s just a trip down Cupertino’s memory lane, from Steve Wozniac’s original Apple motherboard (in a hobbyist’s wooden case) to the iPhone and the unibody MacBook.

But it’s more than that. It’s also, in the middle section, a visual reminder of how badly Apple AAPL lost its way during Steve Jobs’ 1985-1997 exile — not just in the parade of beige boxes designed to look like IBM PCs, but in a series of failed experiments perhaps best forgotten:

  • Apple PowerCD (1993)
  • Newton (1993)
  • QuickTake digital camera (1994)
  • Apple Bandai Pippin (1995)

You can almost feel the company come back to life — and into focus — at the video’s 1:59 mark, with Jonathan Ive’s Bondi-blue iMac.

Let’s go to the video, below the fold: