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#4. Apple III (1980-1984)

The Apple III
Photograph: Courtesy, Steven Stengel of
Many iPod fans probably aren't old enough to remember a time when Steve Jobs did not walk on water. But the Apple III was a fiasco, thanks largely to Jobs' design demands.

According to most accounts, Jobs insisted that the machine be built without a cooling fan; instead, the system's aluminum case served as a heat sink. (A mistake Apple repeated with the Mac G4 Cube in 2000.) Worse, the Apple III crammed too many components into too small a case. As the system overheated, circuit boards warped and chips popped out of their sockets; users were supposed to pick up the machine and drop it to re-seat the chips. List prices between $4300 and $7400, depending on configuration, only added to the misery.

Apple was forced to replace the first 14,000 Apple IIIs it shipped, and it redesigned the system twice, but the machine never lost its reputation as a stinker.

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