Here’s How Much It Would Have Cost To Build An iPhone 23 Years Ago

The iPhone is considered a very expensive device to own, but the fact that newer technologies become cheaper with every year enables vendors like Apple to ensure that each new model packs more new and exciting features for roundabout the same price. If prices of the raw materials remained constant, building a handset like the iPhone would be impossible on a large scale, and to emphasize this point, Tech Policy Daily has carried out some research on how much an iPhone would have cost to make in 1991.

Prompted by a RadioShack ad from two decades ago that showed off a range of products now obsolete thanks to devices like the iPhone, TPD’s Bret Swanson decided to see how much the now all-in-one device would have made to cost to produce back then. The short answer, quite incredibly, is well over the $3m mark.

It’s worth pointing out that most of the estimates are rough, and that actually, he’s only factored in some of the major hardware found in the latest and greatest iPhone 5s, but nevertheless, the figures make for staggering reading.

Considering, at the time, that much of the vaguely connected world was on dial-up, creating something even close to the connection of today’s LTE would have cost a monumental amount of money; a whopping $1.5 million, in fact.

Add to that the fact that flash memory – so commonplace and cheap to purchase in this day and age – would have cost a further $1.44 million, and it puts into perspective just how much technology has advanced over the past twenty or so years.

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