The Apple 3 — History of the PC — Video Game Wiki

Apple 3 – 1980


Over 100,000 Apple 2s Sold

Since 1977, Apple made millions on their Apple II computer line. Well over 100,000 units were sold, and it was the primary money maker for the company.


Apple 3 home computer

Above: Apple 3


However, Apple did not expect the Apple 2 to continue to be successful. They set out to design an even better system aimed squarely at the business environment, the Apple 3.


Apple 3, a Heavy Upgrade

The 3 was announced on May 19, 1980, during the National Computer Conference in Anaheim, California. In the fall of 1980, Apple shipped the first Apple 3 units in limited quantity.

The 3 was twice the speed of the Apple 2 with twice the memory with 128KB. This was the first Apple computer to have a built-in floppy drive, a Shugart 143k 5.25-inch floppy drive. The Apple 3 has four internal expansion slots that are compatible with Apple 2 cards, and has a built in Apple 2 Plus emulator.


Warped Motherboards

The 3 chassis is a single, heavy piece of aluminium, with the power supply totally enclosed in the left section, with no ventilation what-so-ever.

Steve Jobs gave ridiculous demands to the development team including dimensions that were too small to fit all the components, and no cooling fan, because they were ‘too noisy and inelegant’.

The result was that the motherboard got hot and warped, eventually causing some chips to come loose in their sockets, which would cause system malfunctions.

One popular fix was to pick up the console and drop it onto the desk, temporarily re-seating the loose chips. In addition, the real-time clock did not work. The Apple II emulation also had trouble.


Apple 3 Plus

After replacing 14,000 bad Apple 3s, a newly revised system, with 256KB, was released late in the fall of 1981. Apple also introduced the ProFile 5Meg external hard drive.


Apple 3 plus home computer

Above: Apple 3 Plus


There were still problems, mostly the Apple 3’s bad reputation, so once again, in December 1983, Apple introduced the redesigned Apple 3 Plus, for US$3000. It had a working clock, peripheral ports which had standard DB-25 connectors, and an improved operating system, SOS 1.3.

On the Plus, the keyboard is now a lighter shade than on the original Apple 3, and the matching monitor is also in a lighter shade to match the keyboard.


Four Months on the Market

Nevertheless, the Apple III was so distrusted that even though it was now a fine and functional system, people still did not buy it. On April 24, 1984, the entire Apple 3 line was retired with only 65,000 units sold in total.

The Apple 3 Plus was on the market for a total of 4 months!


No votes yet.
Please wait...