- Ted Thai/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Apple has always been known for its steep prices. From phones to computers, tablets to cases, if it’s coming from Apple, it will probably be one of the priciest options available.
This reputation for being expensive has spawned a nickname that has become popular with critics of the company: “Apple tax.” The thinking went that customers were willing to pay more to have the famous Apple logo adorn their products.
Recently, however,we have reportedthat Apple seems to be backing away from its expensive image – offering its Apple Watch and AirPods at competitive prices that won’t break the bank. The tech giant’s latest move came on Tuesday, when it announced that its new standard iPad would cost only $329 – which is remarkable considering the original iPad cost $499 when it was released in 2010.
This might truly mark the beginning of a new era for Apple, so we thought it would be fitting to look back on some of the most expensive products that the company has ever offered.
Apple LISA (1985) — $9,995
- Flickr/Frank Fujimoto
If you saw Aaron Sorkin’s 2015 biopic “Steve Jobs,” you’ll likely remember the Apple LISA. Jobs, played by Michael Fassbender, spends most of the movie saying the computer wasn’t named after his daughter Lisa, until he finally admits it was.
What the movie doesn’t spend too much time on is the fact that the LISA cost a whopping $9,995 in 1985. For those keeping score at home, that means the LISA would cost just over $24,000 today, after inflation.
For that price, buyers in 1985 were getting a true technical pioneer – the LISA was the first mouse-operated computer to have a graphical user interface system.
Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (1997) — $7,499
- Photos courtesy of Portfolio/Penguin, publisher of JONY IVE, The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products
The Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh – or TAM, as those in the know called it – was a truly unique piece of technology. It was released in March 1997, but despite not fitting into any Apple product line, it was the prehistoric ancestor of the modern-day iMac, with all the components held in a slim body behind the screen.
What set it apart from the pack was that it was significantly more expensive than any other Apple offering at the time. The TAM could be had for $7,500, which would be about $11,200 today.
However, in a little less than a year, the price got slashed to $1,995 to clear stock. When the TAM was finally sold out, it was discontinued.
Macintosh Portable (1989) — $7,300
In September 1989, Apple unveiled its first “portable” computer. I put “portable” in quotes because although the computer wasn’t connected to the wall by a cord, it still weighed a back-breaking 16 lbs – the same as an enormous bowling ball.
For the privilege of being able to lug around this machine, the company asked only that you write them a check for $7,300 – about $14,300 today.
Apple LaserWriter (1985) — $6,995
The draw of the Apple LaserWriter was that it could be shared by over a dozen Macintosh computers. This ability made the $7,000 price tag – nearly $16,000 today – a bit easier to swallow for businesses that ran on Macintosh.
The LaserWriter was one of the very first laser printers available on the mass-market, and it helped usher in the desktop publishing revolution.
Still, though, that’s a really expensive printer.
Apple Watch Edition (2015) — $17,000
The Apple Watch hit stores in 2015 with the somewhat-reasonable price of $349 for the baseline model. Watch collectors, however, are not usually known for paying somewhat-reasonable prices for things. You see, a nice watch is as much a statement piece as it is a time-telling device.
Apple was more than happy to scratch that itch for collectors, announcing a version of the Apple Watch, called “Edition.” The price started at $10,000 for a watch with rose gold casing, and went as high as $17,000 for one that came with an 18-karat yellow or rose gold case and clasps.
It soon became apparent to Apple that most people – other than Beyonce – had no interest in a smartwatch that cost as much as a car. By the time the Apple Watch Series 2 rolled around last September, the Apple Watch Edition was being marketed as a fitness device rather than a style piece, and topped out at $1,300.
Souped-up Mac Pro (2013) — $20,934.45
This technically isn’t a tremendously expensive product, as the bill only surpassed $20,000 after we upgraded every possible internal and added every accessory Apple suggested to our cart, but the final price for a high-end Apple desktop today is staggering nonetheless.