Sunday, December 18, 2011

Apple 1991 PowerBook 100 vs. 2011 MacBook

Here's a website with some great historical data on Apple products back to 1976, with specifications and retail prices. The laptop above is the 1991 PowerBook 100, which retailed for $2,500 ($4,150 in today's dollars), and had a processor speed of 16 MHz and disk space of 30 MB.  Today's MacBook Pro (picture below) is 125 times faster (2 GHz) and has almost 17,000 times more disk space (500 GB) and sells for $1,800.   



23 Comments:

At 12/18/2011 11:04 PM, Blogger Colin said...

I had my 3 year old MacBook stolen the other week and bought a replacement MacBook the next day. Cost me $250 less than my last one, had a backlit keyboard, faster processor, updated software and both the RAM and hard drive capacity were doubled. Also arrived the next day with free shipping.

 
At 12/18/2011 11:09 PM, Blogger W.C. Varones said...

The government uses quality improvements like this to reduce CPI.

But what about quality reductions?

Thirty years ago, a hamburger was grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic beef.

Today a hamburger is a sick mess of corn-fed beef shot full of hormones and antibiotics.

If you wanted natural beef, you'd pay 10x the price.

Where is that in the CPI?

 
At 12/18/2011 11:25 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Apple; it was c**p then, its still c**p now. My HP has considerably better specs than that, and only a little over half the price. Plus, its not only good for surfing the web :p

 
At 12/19/2011 12:16 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

It is really quite amazing how this exponential growth in computing capacity keeps going on. It is so awesome that it has left our capacity to produce software and other information to take advantage of the hardware in the lurch, to the point where the hardware is capable of doing so many things now that we can't even supply to it. For example, practically every device does high-def video these days, yet options for high-def video are still fairly limited, some overpriced stuff on iTunes and some free videos online and that's about it. It's as though we have massive interstate highways but no cars to drive on them. When we finally get our capacity to produce software and content caught up, the coming changes will be fundamental and radical, but as of now we're still stuck with extremely powerful devices that are way underutilized, because we are collectively too dumb to create new institutions and processes to fully utilize all that computing power.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:53 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

There have been only four major economic revolutions: Agricultural, Industrial, Information, and Biotech. More major economic revolutions are inevitable, and they'll take place at faster rates.

The explosive growth in the Information Revolution, between 1982-2007, boosted living standards.

It's likely in the 21st century, a period of explosive growth in the Biotech Revolution will take place, similar to the height of the Industrial Revolution (from 1871-1914) and the height of the Information Revolution (from 1982-2007), and then a Nanotech Revolution will flourish.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:07 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

W. C. Varones: "Thirty years ago, a hamburger was grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic beef."

Yeah, I miss those healthy times too. Organic is always better.

"The bovine spongiform encephalopathy breakout in England was first realized in the year 1986 when farmers recognized that something was happening to their cattle. In farming, it is convenient and healthy for cattle to be fed soybean meal as a part of their diet. In England, soybeans don’t grow well, so British farmers fed their cattle an animal byproduct which contained the mixed meat and bones of cattle and sheep."

 
At 12/19/2011 5:20 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Faster, yes.

Less durable and friendly to end user maintenance, sure. Apple goes out of their way to make sure you cannot service your own computer, even if one has the requisite skill in computer maintenance and repair.

Across-the-board decline in quality after accounting for the feature improvements? Definitely the case whether you have an Macbook, Latitude, or Thinkpad.



The explosive growth in the Information Revolution, between 1982-2007, boosted living standards.

...while pulling back those gains by virtue of offshoring causing joblessness to increase faster than job creation.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:09 AM, Blogger DoNotSwallow said...

"Across-the-board decline in quality after accounting for the feature improvements? Definitely the case whether you have an Macbook, Latitude, or Thinkpad."

Uh, what?

 
At 12/19/2011 9:41 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

But what about quality reductions?

Thirty years ago, a hamburger was grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic beef.

Today a hamburger is a sick mess of corn-fed beef shot full of hormones and antibiotics.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yep, and thirty years ago you could purchase an aut headlight an auto headlight for $3, and replace it yourself in fifteen minutes.

An auto headlight today can easily run to $500 to have replaced, since it is no longer a doi yourself job.

 
At 12/19/2011 9:44 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

so British farmers fed their cattle an animal byproduct which contained the mixed meat and bones of cattle and sheep."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

There is nothing organic about feeding chicken litter and meat byproducts to grazing animals.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:16 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Thirty years ago, a hamburger was grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, organic beef"...

Thirty years ago I was still working a ranch occassionally and the steers were fed anti-biotics via their feed and shots...

Forty years ago there were feed lots doing the samething...

 
At 12/19/2011 12:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"There is nothing organic about feeding chicken litter and meat byproducts to grazing animals."

Oops! Did I fail to set the sarcasm tag? Reread my comment while pretending it was meant as sarcasm.

Besides, what does "organic" mean to you? Other than carbon based, that is.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "Forty years ago there were feed lots doing the samething..."

Ahh. the good old days were so much better.

/sarcasm

 
At 12/19/2011 3:44 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


DoNotSwallow said...

You get more features, but their implementation is more shoddy.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:24 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Free markets are good at taking something already developed and streamlining it.

What free markets are not so good at is developing new game changing technologies. The technology for computers was developed in the state sector, not the private sector. Same for the internet. The development of computers shows the advantages of a mixed economy.

Some countries have economies that lean more heavily on free markets. They're in Africa, Haiti, Latin America. They didn't develop computers there. But they can sew underwear like gangbusters.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:01 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon says: "Free markets are good at taking something already developed and streamlining it...free markets are not so good at is developing new game changing technologies. The technology for computers was developed in the state sector, not the private sector..."

The free market developed over 99% of "new game changing technologies."

Afterall, government doesn't have unlimited money to compete with private firms.

 
At 12/19/2011 8:16 PM, Blogger mike k said...

Free markets are good at taking something already developed and streamlining it.

What free markets are not so good at is developing new game changing technologies. The technology for computers was developed in the state sector, not the private sector. Same for the internet. The development of computers shows the advantages of a mixed economy.

I know, in lieu of Cafe Hayek, I should not get personal but I can't help it. That could be the single most inane post I've ever seen on any internet blog. Sorry.

 
At 12/20/2011 2:04 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"What free markets are not so good at is developing new game changing technologies. The technology for computers was developed in the state sector, not the private sector. Same for the internet. The development of computers shows the advantages of a mixed economy."

What absolute drivel. Automatic, programmable calculating machines have been around for centuries, and have improved over time due to the innovations of farsighted visionaries - something not found in government.

Did you think modern computers sprang fully functional from the loins of some government bureaucrat? Business needs for productivity tools and lower costs have always far exceeded the capability of those in government, who have no real incentives to produce anything but more government.

 
At 12/20/2011 9:46 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Are you seriously going to try and pretend that without government we would have computers? OK, someone developed a counting machine. That makes decades of government funded development unnecessary? The government was the exclusive source of demand not just for a few years. For multiple decades. There would be no computers without the government.

An individual with a profit interest naturally has a shorter term outlook. He's not going to spend billions of dollars over multiple decades on a project that may not work out. He's got free riders to deal with. It's not going to happen. And it doesn't happen.

There is no Mac Book without government sponsored R&D. It's hilarious to me that right wingers point to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, and companies like Oracle, Intel, and Boeing as if the represented some sort of triumph of free market capitalism. These are examples of the success of a mixed economy, not a free market economy.

And if you think the free market can really produce amazing, economy changing technologies in the modern era, tell me what such technologies are coming out of Haiti, Africa, and Latin America. That is the countries that actually follow the right wing prescriptions of fierce property rights, no real minimum wage to speak of, no import and export restrictions, no restrictions on capital movement, tiny or irrelevant government regulations, tiny tax rates. On right wing theory you'd expect all these manufacturing jobs to flee to Haiti with it's wonderful 31 cents an hour minimum wage. All that movement then pulls Haitians up out of poverty. Well, we've been trying this experiment on them for decades. Maybe we should give them a break and let them run their own affairs.

 
At 12/20/2011 8:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "There is no Mac Book without government sponsored R&D. It's hilarious to me that right wingers point to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, and companies like Oracle, Intel, and Boeing as if the represented some sort of triumph of free market capitalism. These are examples of the success of a mixed economy, not a free market economy."

You are confused and your narrative, as usual, is incomplete, and short on history. Do you think that thing on your desk was the first computer? Are you unaware of the history of companies such as IBM? IBM made business machines long before any of the technology you are familiar with even existed, and in fact developed many of the improvements in electronics we enjoy today.

The fact that they were awarded numerous large government contracts over the years, including one to manage the first Social Security system, should be a clue that the technology and capability already existed in the private sector.

"Are you seriously going to try and pretend that without government we would have computers? OK, someone developed a counting machine. That makes decades of government funded development unnecessary?"

The fact that large corporations are able to buy politicians who will direct taxpayer money their way isn't an indication of government innovation.

Get your head out, Jon.

"The government was the exclusive source of demand not just for a few years. For multiple decades. There would be no computers without the government."

You forgot to cite your many sources for this ridiculous claim. Was there no demand for business computers in all those multiple decades you mentioned, but failed to specify?

"An individual with a profit interest naturally has a shorter term outlook. He's not going to spend billions of dollars over multiple decades on a project that may not work out."

Perhaps spending billions of dollars over multiple decades on projects that don't work out is a stupid thing to do. Only government actors, who have no incentive to actually produce anything useful, can waste other people's money endlessly, without consequences.

It's an amazing disconnect you have, Jon, that allows you to trust human beings in government with no real incentives to accomplish anything when they are the same human beings that you have no faith in when they are in business. How can government actors be saintly, while private ones are greedy slime?

"And if you think the free market can really produce amazing, economy changing technologies in the modern era, tell me what such technologies are coming out of Haiti, Africa, and Latin America. That is the countries that actually follow the right wing prescriptions of fierce property rights, no real minimum wage to speak of, no import and export restrictions, no restrictions on capital movement, tiny or irrelevant government regulations, tiny tax rates."

They are also lacking the very basis of a free market economy - protection of *individual* property rights, and enforcement of contracts. None of the rest matters without those.


"On right wing theory you'd expect all these manufacturing jobs to flee to Haiti with it's wonderful 31 cents an hour minimum wage. All that movement then pulls Haitians up out of poverty."

Right wing? You can do better than that.

Yes, you would expect that to be the case if the two missing basics were in place. Their absence must be a reason why jobs don't flee to Haiti at $0.31/hr. Who would want to do business without enforcable contracts?

Another factor is likely the enormous level of good hearted foreign aid that flows in, preventing small business startups. It's really hard to compete with free stuff.

 
At 12/20/2011 8:15 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "Well, We've been trying this exeriment on them for decades."

Who, exactly, is "we"? Are you involved in something in Haiti?

"Maybe we should give them a break and let them run their own affairs."

On that point we agree 100%. Their problems are theirs to fix. No one else can do it for them.

 
At 12/20/2011 9:02 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Ron, you're wasting your time. Jon is deeply ignorant about the history of technology but has a religious belief in the magical powers of govt and is willing to rewrite history to preach his gospel. He claims to be a formerly religious "right winger" who has apparently now switched religions to the church of big government. It is interesting that little things like history and evidence never matter to him in his various crusades. ;)

 
At 12/20/2011 11:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Sprewell: "Ron, you're wasting your time. Jon is deeply ignorant about the history of technology but has a religious belief in the magical powers of govt and is willing to rewrite history to preach his gospel. "

Yeah, I know it. It's just hard to let such obvious statist trash go by.

It appears that Jon has these various comment pieces saved so that he can copy and paste them to when he needs them, as they never change.

At least he hasn't yet tried, in this thread, to drive traffic to his own website by using his own opinions as references - but it's still a short thread.

 

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