Here’s how much an iPhone would have cost in 1991


The introduction of the iPhone has been a huge leap not only in the field of smartphones, but in the broader technology industry as well. An analysis by Tech Policy Daily tries to find out how much the iPhone, with its revolutionary features, would have cost in 1991.

The analysis is based on the following calculations:

  • Flash storage, back then, cost $45,000 per GB. Considering a 32GB iPhone 5s, the total cost is $1.44 million
  • Processors approximately cost $30 per MIPS (millions of instructions per second) in 1991. The A7 chip can execute 20,500 million instructions per second, so the total cost for a similar processor in 1991 would be $620,000
  • Assuming that the wireless equipment was priced $100 per kilobit per second, and that the present day iPhone gets around 15Mbps over LTE, the radio would have cost $1.5 million

From the report:

Considering only memory, processing, and broadband communications power, duplicating the iPhone back in 1991 would have (very roughly) cost: $1.44 million + $620,000 + $1.5 million = $3.56 million.

The calculations do not take into account features like the camera, software, motion sensors, display and a lot more, but go on to show that even the most basic requirements would have pushed the iPhone’s price into the millions.

It’s important to note that this is just a thought exercise to highlight how technology has not only become better but even cheaper over time. One can only imagine of what the next 15 years hold in store for us in terms of technology.

[via Tech Policy Daily]