Right idea, wrong time: the tech that turned up too early

The other USB


Firewire, Apple's version of the IEEE1394 high speed serial interface, was designed to offer super-fast connections between devices. However, while it was early to market in the late 1990s, some odd decisions - three different kinds of connections and, from 2002, two different standards (for example Apple offered Firewire 800 in its higher-end Macs but limited consumer models to the slower Firewire 400) - made it easy for USB to catch up and ultimately overtake it.

USB 2.0 overtook Firewire 400 in the speed stakes, and the 2008 USB 3.0 standard eclipsed Firewire 800 completely with performance measured not in megabits, but in gigabits.

Sir Clive's BMW i5


In 2013, car fans are getting excited about a zero-emissions vehicle powered by electricity - but in 1985, they were chortling at exactly the same thing. We're the first to admit that 2013's BMW i5 is a much faster, safer and sexier vehicle than the Sinclair C5, but Sir Clive's ahead-of-its-time invention remained the world's best selling electric vehicle until 2011.