An iPad for the cost of an iPod?

UK coupon site [Voucher Codes]( has an interesting trip down technology memory lane, specifically focused on Apple products.

The site tracked the price of Apple’s products dating back to the first Apple 1 in 1976 and shows the original retail price next to what that product would cost today allowing for inflation. For example, the first Apple computer sold for $666.66 which would be $2,540.07 in 2010. Lisa, the precursor to the Mac, first sold in 1983 for $9,995 which works out to a whopping $21,744.85 in today’s dollars.

As a much lower priced products march continued, the gap between then and now narrows. For example, when the iPod was released in 2001 it had an estimated list price of $399 that would be $488.46 today.

What was that number, $488.46? Well what do you know, for about an extra $12 in today’s dollars you can buy a new iPad (list price, $499).

Pricing has always been a controversial issue for Apple which generally prices its products higher than its PC counterparts, touting better integration, ease of use and extra value as among the reasons why.


There is also a certain irony in the iPad’s $499 starting price, which isn’t exactly pocket change, but it’s at least in the netbook ball park and those devices are considered cheap.

When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs brought in Pepsi exec John Sculley to help him run Apple in the early 1980’s, the company went hard after the business market. The Lisa was pitched as an easy to use workstation for executives who didn’t know how to use computers, but it was also by far the most expensive computer Apple ever sold and, outside of some showcase customers, never took off.

Jobs took the Mac on as his own project and kept the development team separate from the rest of Apple. Rumors at the time said he desperately wanted it to be priced more as an everyman’s computer.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates confirmed later that the lower mass market selling price Jobs was shooting for was part of the reason the software giant agreed to develop for the Mac. Instead, component costs being what they were back then, the first Mac came out at $2,499 and it wasn’t until the debut of the Macintosh Classic in 1990 that Apple sold its first Mac for under $1,000. But don’t feel bad for Microsoft, its Mac division was hugely profitable for years.

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