Your Spectrum
Issue 4, June 1984 - SinclairWatch
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Well, the latest deadline for the first QL deliveries has come and gone and still (at the time of writing) no sign of the machine itself. After the imaginative 'End of February', came the 'by the end of March' announcement, and Sinclair Research stuck to its story up to the last possible moment - and then admitted it couldn't keep to it (surprise, surprise). The latest word is that customers should get QL-ed by the dates specified in individual letters, estimates which currently range from the end of May through to the end of July (although potentially more worrying is the fact that the year of delivery has been omitted!). An utter sceptic was recently heard misquoting the famous line: "There are three kinds of lies lies, all lies and Sinclair Research delivery dates".
The exact reasons for the ever-lengthening delays are difficult to confirm. All those in the know are keeping very quiet - well, almost all - apparently someone in Ferranti recently discovered a 'major hardware fault' in the QL's design that had escaped earlier detection. Other rumours claim that the operating system, QDOS, won't fit into the 16K ROM space allocated - and that major routines like multi- tasking and windows are going to have to be left out. This may be not come as much of a surprise to some, particularly as Apple has reported difficulty fitting the Macintosh operating system into a 64K ROM.
When (being positive) the QL is manufactured in quantity, one thing is sure - just like the Spectrum it's going to take time to clear the backlog of orders. Therefore, the chances of it being available through retail outlets before the New Year look rather remote. Naturally, though, the deluxe double-page full-colour adverts continue to be booked, which in turn
lengthens the queues, which in turn lengthens the potential delay, which in turn increases the interest accruing on the customer's hard-earned lolly. To compensate for this loss of interest, customers are to be offered a free and desirable gift of some sort, the nature of which is still to be decided. By the look of things, Sinclair Research may have plenty of time in hand to make the decision. The Spectrum freebie (to make up for its delivery delay) was a £10 voucher towards a ZX Printer or paper - I don't somehow think they could use that again!
Actually examining the infamous QL adverts with a bit of honest hindsight reveals some interesting quotes. For example, "nothing like it exists anywhere" - which is true enough. Also, it suggests that you "Get yourself a QL at the earliest possible moment" - which is currently likely to be August (at least according to the Gospel of Sir Clive). And then, of course, there's the evergreen "delivery may take more than 28 days".
Also mentioned in the ads is the bit about extending your credit limit if you order by credit card, and the reason for this is now clear. The rules of the card companies insist that money can only be obtained when despatch of goods is imminent. Therefore, if Oswald the Optimist orders a QL by Access in, say, April, when he's fortunate enough to have the odd £400 hanging around his account, by the time his QL is actually despatched, he could well have blown the dough. Thus, when Sinclair Research checks his status, Access will normally refuse the order and back goes Oswald to the rear end of the queue and a sale has bitten the dust But ... under Sir Clive's new wonder scheme, Access will probably allow you to exceed your limit by the price of a QL. Clever innit?!

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