Trivia

Hard

Owners Of Which Early Personal Computer Were Instructed To Fix It By Dropping It?

The Timex Sinclair
The Commodore 64
The Apple III
The IBM PCjr
A photo of an Apple III computer.
Alexander Schaelss/Wikimedia

Answer: The Apple III

There’s a handful of instructions you get regarding the physical care and keeping of a new computer. Those instructions usually involve keeping it dry, cool, and free from sudden shock. Free from sudden shock, that is, unless you were an owner of the short-lived Apple III computer in the early 1980s.

The Apple III was intended to be an enhanced successor to the Apple II series computers but, from the start, was hampered with issues. The model suffered from overheating issues thanks to the closed design and lack of fan-based cooling. In fact, heat issues proved extremely problematic for the Apple III, to the point that excessive heat actually caused the integrated chips to expand and unseat themselves (along with warping or melting some of the disks inserted into the computers). The solution offered by Apple’s technical reps and support engineers on the matter was that customers should tilt the front of the Apple III six inches above the desk and then drop it. The sudden drop would reseat the chips and business could continue as usual.

While the trick did work, it was a tad unorthodox and only contributed to the public’s disdain for the Apple III. By the end of 1981, Apple was selling only 500 units a month and by April of 1984, they had discontinued the Apple III (four months after introducing the III Plus and replacing 14,000 of the original 65-75,000 Apple III computers sold).

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