Way back in the spring of 1984 I bought a Mac. After toiling away on various CP/M machines for a few years it became obvious that point and click was the future. My original Mac was priced at $2,495. I bought an extra floppy disk drive and an ImageWriter printer which pushed the price tag beyond $3,000. The only applications available back then were MacWrite and MacPaint, though more followed over the next few years.
Of all the personal computers I bought back in that era– my first was a $1,995 Osborne I running CP/M, SuperCalc, WordStar, and dBase II– the Mac was the second least expensive. It featured 128k of RAM, a 400k floppy disk drive, and a 9-inch black and white display.
What does that same $2,495 get you in 2018?
MacBook Pro – Apple’s entry-level 15-inch MacBook Pro is priced at $2,399, comes with a quad-core 7th generation Intel Inside, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, a Radeon Pro 555 GPU with 2GB RAM, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Touch Bar with Touch ID, a 2880×1800 Retina display, Wi-FI, a 720p FaceTime camera, about 10-hours of battery life, and all in a four pound package. The original Mac weighed 16 pounds.
Is the MacBook Pro a bargain, or what?
27-inch iMac – For $4 more than the original Mac in 1984, you can buy an iMac with a 27-inch Retina display, a quad-core 7th generation Intel Inside, 8GB of RAM, a 2TB Fusion Drive, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3, an SDXC card slot, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, a FaceTime HD camera– $2,499.
A 21-inch iMac with a quad-core Intel Inside, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD– in addition to the Retina display– is priced at a measly $2,199; almost $300 less than the original Mac in 1984. A 27-inch iMac with everything– 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD storage, Retina display, an quad-core Intel Inside is $5,299.
Why is that price tag significant? Adjusting for inflation, 34 years after the original Mac was introduced at $2,495, the same Mac would be $5,919, which makes a fully tricked out iMac, fully loaded with every option, a bargain at more than $600 less.
iMac Pro – That brings me to another iMac bargain; the iMac Pro, which starts at $4,999. Out of the box, the newest and most powerful iMac has an 8-core Intel Xeon CPU inside, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 27-inch Retina display powered by a Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB of RAM, and ports galore; 4 USB 3, 4 Thunderbolt 3, 10GB Ethernet, Wi-Fi, 1080p HD FaceTime camera, and more.
The original Mac in 1984 came with a very buggy Mac OS, MacWrite, and MacPaint. Today’s Macs come with Unix roots in macOS High Sierra, Safari, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, Maps, FaceTime, Messages, Photos, Garageband, iMovie, iTunes, iCloud, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and much more.
Any Mac you buy today is an absolute dirt cheap bargain when compared to the original Mac in 1984, and that includes the $4,999 iMac Pro. It’s a steal at that price.