As far as computers go, the Apple III was a rather rotten Apple. The first 14,000 were recalled with hardware problems galore and even with bugs eventually worked out, Apple never could erase the computer’s “lemon” label.
But if you’re willing to give the Apple III a second chance, there is a working one for sale, complete with manuals, startup disks and, quite possibly, the good karma of a famous swami.
Yogaville, a spiritual retreat center in Virginia founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda, had the Apple III Plus, complete with all the manuals and a dot matrix printer, in storage after it spent much of the 1980s helping staff schedule yoga classes and workshops.
Swami Satchidananda made the opening address at the start of the Woodstock music festival in 1969 and won an Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award. He died in 2002, having dedicated his life to peace and harmony and achieving a massive following in the west.
All that peace, harmony, and the swami’s good spirit in the air at Yogaville probably didn’t hurt this particular Apple III Plus. According to Yogaville’s director of IT, the computer and all related items power up and run programs.
With six days left on eBay, it is currently listed at $777 and has one bidder. The center wants to sell it to a collector in hopes of using the money towards a new Apple computer that will help with yoga teachings online.
There were two other working Apple IIIs found there in storage that will eventually go up for bid.
The energy surrounding the Apple III was anything but harmonious. It was initially thought to be a successor to the popular Apple II and serve as a computer system for businesses. The problems were likely a result of the design of the case being completed before internal components had been decided on.
Steve Jobs insisted the computer not have a cooling fan and the III went on to have issues with overheating because the case had no way to vent out heat generated from the crowded internal components.
The computer was released in May of 1980 with only an estimated 65,000 to 75,000 sold when Apple discontinued it in October of 1983. Apple rolled out the Apple III Plus in December of that year, but Apple then discontinued the III line. Jobs said Apple lost “infinite, incalculable amounts” of money on the Apple III.