Trivia

Hard

In The Early 2000s, Apple Had Issues With An iBook Laptop That Smelled Like?

Fish
Body Odor
Cheese
Burnt Plastic
The Japanese model of the Apple iBook G3 M6497 laptop.
baku13/Wikimedia

Answer: Body Odor

In the early 2000s, Apple released a refresh of their iBook line of laptops, the 12″ iBook G3 (Snow) that boasted specs which are, by modern standards, downright nostalgic—the original 2001 base model had a 500 Mhz processor, 64MB of RAM, a 10GB hard drive, and a 1024×768 display all for a mere $1,299.

In addition to all that turn-of-the-millennium portable computing goodness, quite a few users got a bonus feature they neither paid for nor, most certainly, wanted: a horrific stench that most people described as akin to very ripe body odor. Worse yet, the iBook was like a Trojan horse in that the units didn’t stink right off the shelf, but slumbered peacefully waiting to release their payloads. The culprit was a sheet of adhesive used in the labeling and construction of the keyboard and, after approximately 12-18 months, the adhesive would begin breaking down, outgassing a foul smell in the process.

The repair process was pretty straightforward: you just had to crack open the laptop, peel the sheet loose, and remove the underlying adhesive with a solvent but, given how bad the smell was, it was difficult to find anyone willing to perform the repair. The product was never recalled and eventually the laptops faded from use (though their owners will tell you the smell itself certainly didn’t).

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