Apple’s powerful new iMac Pro is actually cheaper than the original Mac

“No matter how you price it, the new iMac Pro is spendy. Fully-equipped, it pops eyeballs at a nose-bleedingly expensive $13,199,” David Gewirtz writes for ZDNet. “Even the base unit, at $4,999, is pricey. But is the iMac Pro really the most expensive Mac ever?”

“No,” Gewirtz writes. “As it turns out, accounting for inflation, the original Mac 128K introduced by Steve Jobs back when 1984 wasn’t going to be like 1984, was more expensive.”

“The original Mac was priced at $2,495 in 1984 dollars. Thirty four years later, that would be $5,919 in present day dollars, accounting for inflation,” Gewirtz writes. “Forget all the specs for a moment. I’d like you to take away two things from this article. First, current Macs, and even the iMac Pro still have the DNA of that first Mac. If we could somehow send an iMac Pro back in time to 1984, a Mac user living back then would be able to sit down and immediately use the machine. Second, when it comes to computing power, our buying power has exploded exponentially.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For the user for whom the iMac Pro is designed, there is no better computing value on the planet.

Aerospace engineer Dr. Craig Hunter reviews Apple’s 18-core iMac Pro: A bargain at $11,199 – February 3, 2018
Apple begins shipping 18-core iMac Pro units to customers – January 31, 2018
Apple’s monstrously potent iMac Pro is for these professional computer users – December 14, 2017


  1. Got one last Friday. My first desktop with SSD.this baby flies. I probably won’t ever max it out (unless we come up with pretty amazing software) with what I do now. I do need to do a small video conversion project but that is on back burner for now.

    1. The IIfx is absolutely, positively a Mac of the ages. I talked Nokia into getting this machine, and it revolutionized – I mean it – all of our digital publishing. This at the time was the badass computer out there, even a match for the mighty Silicon Graphics stuff. Boy was it expensive, but in value we must have got back 100 times what we paid.

  2. The base model is definitely cheaper than the CTO Mac IIcx I purchased way back when with the special 8-bit grey-scale graphics card and 21″ two-page Monochrome Display. That was a beast in size and cost. At the time I was heavily into desktop publishing and it sure came in handy. It lasted me for so many years so it was worth the cost.

    I honestly don’t see why so many people keep griping about the cost of the base iMac Pro. Maybe it’s because there are more powerful Windows machines at a lower cost. With the inflated cost of high-end graphics cards nowadays, I would think the cost would be nearly equal. I’m sure the iMac Pro makes more sense to purchase than a CTO iMac if you’re going to be using the iMac Pro for five years or more. Oh, well, that’s just the way I feel. AppleCare is relatively inexpensive for the iMac Pro so it just seems like a good deal to me.

    1. Agree with every word you wrote buddy. It does matter if you are an old timer like me, when there was hardly a Mac at all you could use for business (circa 1985) and I paid through the nose for computers relative the what you pay today.

      The same is with international air travel. Back in the day it cost you $1200 round trip Europe (except Icelandic Air, which has since changed its name), and now in comparative money that trip would cost you $400.

    1. In 1987 I bought a Mac Plus w/ 1Mb memory, 20 Mb external hard drive and Apple ImageWriter II printer. Total cost was about $4,000. At the same time I bought the Insight Acc Receivable module for $1,500. Of all the accounting packages I have used over the years Insight is still the best. Unfortunately it was bought by Great Plains and EOL’d in 1989.

      Comparing performance (with inflation adjusted prices), todays Macs are CHEAP.

  3. I was a Partner at Peat Marwick (now KPMG) in 1984 when the original Mac was released. Peat Marwick bought the first 4,000 Mac’s, and the Partners were offered the chance to buy a 128-k Mac, an external 400-K floppy drive, a wide-carriage, tractor-feed impact printer, a 400-baud modem, and the 4 programs available for the Mac at the time: MacWrite, MacPaint, Microsoft File and Microsoft Multi-Plan. I took the plunge and the total check I had too write was $5,200. That would be $12,336 today. Boggles my mind. I have had the base model iMac Pro for about two weeks now, and needless to say, it is just a bit different than my first Mac. Cheers.

  4. “First, current Macs, and even the iMac Pro still have the DNA of that first Mac.”


    When OS9/Classic died the DNA of the original Macs went away. OS X was born from NeXT/NEXTSTEP on x86.

    $5,000 is too much for a sealed shut iMac that will be obsolete way too soon.

  5. The original 128 k “Thin Man” Mac had many advances — especially in its user facing aspects — than what it replaced (the Lisa) and it was only about one fourth the cost.

    For those “Pros” that want an iMac Pro, it is neither significantly more capable on the user facing side nor is it one fourth the cost of what it would/could replace (the 2013 Mac Pro).

    In that light the original Mac was much, much more of a bargain than the current iMac Pro, by far!

  6. Well this is nice nostalgia but when buying a computer today, most businesses look at all CURRENTLY AVAILABLE options.

    Cost, support, software, compatibility with customer or legacy stuff, expandability, suitability for environment, ….

    I am sad to say that while we continue to do as much as we can with Macs, we have had no choice but to bring in Windows workstations. You won’t find a Mac on the factory floor, lab, building site, etc these days. Apple used to be prominent in architecture and CAD, but they lost the plot long ago. Sad. It didn’t have to be this way.

  7. “If we could somehow send an iMac Pro back in time to 1984, a Mac user living back then would be able to sit down and immediately use the machine.”

    Yea, I’d love to go back in time to 1984 and show my friends I helped start the Orange County Mac User Group with today’s iMac Pro. They’d freak!
    Yes, I used the original Mac with 128kb of memory and one 400k single side floppy. That disk held the System, Finder, program or two and files. Remember the days of disk swapping? When 512k’s came out, I created RAM disks that installed the system in memory then spit the disk out leaving the drive open for a floppy with programs and files.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.