Retina MacBook vs Apple I

Retina MacBook vs Apple I

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
June 14 2012 8:25 PM

Retina MacBook vs Apple I

1339719906654

Richard Gaywood is upset that Apple's new Retina MacBook Pro is just about the most locked-down "pro" computer device ever. There's no way to upgrade the RAM, the hard drive, or anything else. As far as Apple's concerned, it's a big block and what you see is what you get. Felix Salmon sees it as "about as far as you can get from the Apple 1, which came as a kit."

All true.

Advertisement

But it's also worth considering that the Apple 1 kit cost $666.66 in 1976, or in other words $2,692 in today's dollars. I'm guessing that if Apple tried to sell you a bunch of computer parts for that much today and didn't even assemble them for you, people would be a lot more upset. Back when computer components were more expensive, computer vendors had to do a lot to lower the price to consumers to get anyone to buy the thing. These days digital components are cheap, and every device maker is in a relentless war against commoditization and the total collapse of profits. Apple has done very very well at it, but the failures of its peer companies is a reminder of how fundamentally difficult it is.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Aug. 28 2015 12:31 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? International affairs writer Joshua Keating on what to read to understand the apparently permanent slowdown of the Chinese economy.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 1 2015 12:20 PM Does Contraception Reduce Abortions? The relationship is surprisingly ambiguous—until you look at the best evidence.