During the Apple iPad launch announcement, Steve Jobs claimed it had an ‘unbelievable price’ attached. With the basic model starting at $500, I’m pretty much undecided whether I agree. But what if you look back down the years at the long line of mesmerising products which have graced our shelves.
The first Apple iPod, the first ever Macintosh Portable, even the Apple Lisa. How much would they have cost today? A recent study was carried out to find out exactly this. Accounting for inflation how much would we be paying in today’s money, what so many people did back then. The results are actually quite astonishing.
One of the biggest arguments against Apple is their pricing and it seems it always has been. For example, perhaps the most incredible result of all that emerged from these tests was the Apple Lisa. The first commercially sold personal computer to have a graphical user interface would have set you back a whopping $21,745 in today’s money.
OK, so the technology was new and at the time the research and development that Apple must have put into this machine is unfathomable, but their ‘latest creation’ the iPad is altogether something new, something different so how come we’re not paying thousands for the thing? As it is, you can buy 43 iPads for the same price as the Apple Lisa.
Apple’s first portable computer, the Macintosh Portable would have also caused you to dig deep had you been buying them now. $11,359 for the machine which weighed a monstrous 16lbs. Although the battery ran for a good 12 hours, it too weighed a monstrous 2lb. Ultraportables and Netbooks these days don’t even weigh that much.
The original Apple machine, the Apple I, would nowadays retails at $2,540 which is perhaps not so astonishing as the rest, however sold as an antique it fetched $50k back in 1999. It’s a rare collectors item these days with an estimated 30-50 still in existence.
There have been many arguments over the years about the real cost of Apple products and the premium “Apple Tax” that people pay for these products, however these results really do back the anti-Apple side of the debate.
On the other hand, there are many arguments in favour of Apple pricing. For example, other studies have shown that owners of Windows PC’s change or upgrade their systems far more often than Mac owners. Quality tests have shown Apple are way ahead of some PC manufacturers in terms of build quality so wear and tear is less evident on Apple machines, a good example being the MacBook Pro aluminium unibody laptop.
At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. I don’t think there is any denying that Apple products are generally expensive, arguably with the exception of the iPad, but is it really needed?
Do you get what you pay for with Apple products? By spending that extra amount do you really see the value in what you have bought? It’s an argument that will probably never be settled, but the results shown in some of these tests are quite honestly bewildering.