How Much An iPhone Would Have Cost Back In 1991

With the introduction of the iPhone and the smartphone in general people carry more computing power than the Apollo 11 computer at all times.

Now an analysis by Tech Policy Daily tries to find out how much the iPhone would have cost in 1991 and the results are pretty staggering to say the least. The analysis is based on the following:

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 7.46.57 AM

Back in 1991 flash storage would have cost $45,000 per GB. Considering a 32GB iPhone 5s, the total cost is $1.44 million.

Processors cost roughly $30 per MIPS (millions of instructions per second) in 1991. As such when you factor the A7 chip can execute 20,500 million instructions per second the cost would be about $620,000.

Now getting to the wireless equipment, in 1991 the cost was $100 per kilobit per second, and that the present day iPhone gets around 15Mbps over LTE, so the radio would have cost $1.5 million.

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.

These calculations do not factor other functionality of the iPhone like the camera, software, display etc. but the next time you want to complain about only having an iPhone 5 remember the value of your iPhone would be in the millions back in 1991.

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  • Harry

    maybe we should make a timemachine and sell an iphone or two ;P

  • Bart

    the thing is, it would cost A LOT MORE – so let say – I’ve got now 1.0000. GHz processor – guess – how much Apple would offer me for it? :)

  • @sexyhamthing

    6 ghz runs at about the temp of the surface of the sun….and you used periods not commas xD