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Adjusted for inflation, the iPad is less expensive than the initial entry prices for the Apple I ($2,540.07), Macintosh Portable ($11,358.59), Newton Message Pad ($1,048.47), Mac mini ($553.64) and iPhone ($521.49). In fact, the only gadget on an adjusted price list from VoucherCodes.co.uk less expensive than the entry level iPad is the first iPod, which would cost $488.46 in today's dollars.
Other noteworthy products on the list adjusted for inflation: the 1977 Apple II for $4,641.25, 1991 PowerBook 100 for $3,660.90, 1998 iMac G3 for $1,593.91, 2002 eMac for $1,023, and 2006 MacBook for $1,181.25.
The analysis helps to put in perspective the initial cost of the iPad, which starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi-only 16GB model and goes on sale this Saturday. When Apple revealed the iPad in January, arguably the most surprising aspect of the unveiling was the starting price.
Prior to its introduction, analysts expected Apple's then-mythical tablet to cost between $800 and $1,000. While many expected a $1,00 price point, some estimates went as high as $2,000 for the inclusion of an OLED display.
In February, one analysis estimated that the components of the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad cost $219. That study found the most expensive piece of hardware to be the device's multi-touch 9.7-inch display, worth around $80. The hardware's custom-designed Apple A4 processor, believed to be manufactured by Samsung, was estimated at about $17 per unit, while the 16GB of memory was estimated at $29.50.
Even with its relatively low starting price, in February executives at Apple reportedly said the Cupertino, Calif., company could become even more aggressive in pricing the new hardware. The executives said they plan to "remain nimble" in pricing if the iPad does not initially attract as many customers as it has anticipated.
But all signs point to a very strong launch for the iPad on Saturday. Last weekend, Apple pushed back the iPad ship date for new preorders. Those who waited to secure their iPad via the company's Web site will now have to wait until April 12, as the first run of shipments have been accounted for. Apple has also seen strong demand for the initial run of iPad accessories, as new purchases of the keyboard dock and power adapter will not ship until May.