iFlickr – and comparing the iMac 2007 to the Mac 1984

Via Engadget, today’s Steve Jobs Show reveals some new thinner, sleeker iMacs.

Also, a .Mac feature called .Mac Web Gallery that marries “.Mac and iPhoto” — iPhoto “08” has some enhancements also. Jobs says, according to Engadget, that “users will get a rich Web 2.0 experience.” (ugh). As I am a long-time .Mac subscriber who has always wondered why. This sounds — conceptually, at least, like an attempt to add Flickr-like features to it. There’s much more mojo to Flickr than mere display of photos, so I’d hesitate to suggest there is the least bit of threat to that service. Even if I use .Mac Photo Gallery, I can’t see it replacing what I do on Flickr.

Later: As it requires an iPhoto ’08 upgrade to use, I’ll be delaying my experimentation. However, the video on Apple.com provides a preview of an impressive way to post and share photos and videos. Doubt they’ll have the ‘community’ aspects of Flickr, but the user interface and animated commands are very iPhone/iPod-like. Like on iTunes album-flipping feature, you can sweep through dozens of photos. Also, you can post to .Mac and then view on an iPhone — a significant feature. For the “first month of iPhone,” “streaming” video via iPhone has been limited to a sub-set of YouTube — and there was no way to upload to YouTube and be guaranteed that your video would show up — unless, say, you threw an iPhone in a blender. This indicates that “streaming” will be coming to the iPhone in a myriad of ways.

Later II: I was just thinking back that a base-model Mac in 1984 (my first Mac) cost $2,495 (the equivalent of $5,000 in 2007 dollars*) for a computer with processing speed of 8MHz and 128 K of memory (I bought lots of floppy disks).

The base model of the iMac announced today costs $1,200 and has 2.0 GHz of processing speed and 250 GB of memory (hard disk storage).

More staggering (to me, at least) is the ability to purchase a tricked-out iMac for about $3,500 that has 2.4 GHz of processing speed and 1 TB of memory (storage). In 1984, such a machine would have cost, what, millions? I’m out of my league here, but for any hardware geek out there, how does today’s desktop iMac compare with a “supercomputer” of 1984 — say, a Cray X-MP, in terms of memory/processing?

There are textbooks of economic principles and laws packed into the evolution of the desktop Macintosh as it is one of the few consumer computer hardware product lines that has been in the marketplace for 23 years using the same (Mac) brand. Lots of classroom fodder related to principles related price / performance / demand / scale / efficiency / competition / productivity / innovation.

*In 1984, a Mac retailed for $2,495. According to this ‘cost-of-living’ calculator on the American Institute for Economic Research website, the rate of inflation reflected int he US. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index estimates that $2,495 in 1984 is equivalent to $4,939.57 today.

  • scott

    and sadly, .mac is still overpriced.

  • Rex Hammock

    Scott, you may be very correct. However, as of today, one gets 10x the amount of storage for the over-price.

  • I do think .mac is a bit overpriced, but I don’t know what I’d do without it. Just being able to sync bookmarks on all six of my Macs makes me happy, but the new ability to publish from iWeb right to my own URL is pretty sweet, too. They’re getting closer to being able to justify the cost, I think.

  • Rex, I have four of those 1984 Macs and variations since. At least I was able to convert them into MacAquariums.

    Perhaps years later my 20″ iMac will make a nice ant farm.

    I still have a LaserWriter Plus in the corner of my office – six thousand for a laser printer!

  • scott

    Well, storage is cheap, especially for someone like apple… so that’s not really all that impressive.

    In any event, I would bet that the back to my mac feature in Leopard will be what really motivates a lot of people to signing up for .mac (I know I’ll likely pony up for it when Leopard is released). Of course, I’d rather just pay 10 bucks a year and get cross-mac ical/contact syncing and back to my mac, but I don’t see apple offering a la carte pricing anytime soon – .mac is too much of a racket for them. I guess slowly but surely, they’re making it less and less of a major ripoff.

  • “250 GB of memory”…”1 TB of memory”…Isn’t RAM usually referred to as memory whereas this is storage (hard drives)?

  • Rex Hammock

    memory vs. storage. I guess you are correct as it relates to “storage”/hardrives. However, there was no such thing as a hard drive storage on the first Mac — just a floppy disk drive: 128 k “memory” disks.

  • how does today’s desktop iMac compare with a “supercomputer” of 1984 — say, a Cray X-MP, in terms of memory/processing

    From the wikipedia article: The Cray could be configured with anywhere between 16 – 128MB. The iMac comes with 1GB minimum. The X-MP could reach a theoretical peak speed of 942 megaflops. That’s less than 8% of the performance of a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo.