How much Would an iPhone Really Cost in 1991? How about $3.5M

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After an old Radio Shack sales flier was found listing a page worth of electronics that just so happen to offer many of the same functions as an iPhone, the idea that an iPhone would cost US$3,000 in 1991 sounded pretty amazing. That figure was based on the price of each item in the ad. The problem was it only took into account how much each device providing a specific function cost, and not the price of base components like RAM. Bret Swanson at TechPolicyDaily took on the task of running the numbers and it turns out an iPhone in 1991 would cost you a lot more than $3,000. 32GB of RAM would set you back $1.44 million, data bandwidth would cost a cool $1.5 million, and the iPhone's processor comes in at a paltry $620,000. Total cost: $3.56 million, and that doesn't even include the price of a car big enough to carry all of the 1991-era components.


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Many thanks, Jeff.

The present has a way of dimming the visual field on fact and context that is often better appreciated when peering through the retrospectoscope.

Articles like this are a healthy reminder of just how far we’ve come in so short a time (how well I remember 1991 as if it were yesterday - I was just starting my paediatrics residency), and just how powerful a computer - and more - the iPhone is, despite its diminutive stature, and how the big boxes that passed for personal computers back then had nothing on the iPhone powerhouse. Not in speed, power, portability, array of features, range of function or variety of apps. Nothing.

Could there be anything more impressive? Yes. The humble iPhone has plenty of headroom for growth, being only about 7 years old.

Simply amazing.

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