history The Case of the $500 iPod  

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Technology has come a long way in the last century, but while some things such as power tools and automobiles have seen price changes in line with standard inflation, other tech items like digital cameras and media storage have seen exponential rise in quality and capacity with a steep decline in price. Ever wonder how much it would cost to buy a Gameboy if it was released today? Or what people were paying for the privilege of having a cell phone when they first came out? This list of comparative costs of technology will show you just what a deal it is to pay $20 for that 32GB memory card you just had delivered for free from Amazon.
 
What did the first camcorder cost? How much more do we pay for tech gadgets now? Which tech items are more expensive now than they used to be? How much did the first versions of technology cost with inflation? How much more did technology cost when it was first released? Curious about old gadgets current prices? Read through the list below to see what these now commonplace technologies would cost if they were released today.
1

Gameboy


Gameboy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Case of the $500 iPod
Photo:  uploaded by Cameron Quasney
When released in 1989: $89.99

With inflation in 2014: $172.05

At the time, handheld gaming systems were seriously low-res and ran only the game they were programmed with. When the Gameboy came around with its sexy monochrome screen and swappable games, people went nuts. Despite the limitations of the display and the laughable battery life, it was one of the hottest sellers of its era.

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2

VCR


VCR is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Case of the $500 iPod
Photo:  uploaded by Cameron Quasney
When released in 1976: $1,280

With inflation in 2014: $5,333.08

The big deal about the VCR upon its introduction was the ability to record directly from the television in your own home. In the days when it cost upwards of $40-50 to buy movies on VHS, building a library in the comfort of your own home was awesome. And pricey. Either way, the VCR was a huge luxury at its start.

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3

Blank VHS Tape


Blank VHS Tape is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Case of the $500 iPod
Photo:  uploaded by Cameron Quasney
When released in 1976: $20

With inflation in 2014: $83.33

Twenty mother lovin' dollars?! For a blank cassette? If you wanted to record a football game without the express written consent of the NFL back in the day, you were paying for it.

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4

Color TV


Color TV is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Case of the $500 iPod
Photo:  uploaded by Cameron Quasney
When released in 1956: $495 

With inflation in 2014: $4,329.43

When it was released in 1956, the RCA tabletop color TV (which boasted a whopping 21" screen) was a real luxury item in the average American household. Only the Don Drapers of the world were privileged enough to have a set in both the common area AND the bedroom. 

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5

Sony Walkman


Sony Walkman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Case of the $500 iPod
Photo:  uploaded by Cameron Quasney
When released in 1979: $150

With inflation in 2014: $491.53

When the Sony Walkman was first released in 1979, the idea of a portable playback unit almost didn't sell (literally. Only 3,000 of the initial 30,000 unit run were sold in the first month of consumer availability) to the general public. A clever person-to-person marketing campaign eventually brought the public around to the idea of buying a device that would allow you to ignore everyone else around you. 

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6

Ford Mustang


Ford Mustang is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Case of the $500 iPod
Photo:  uploaded by Cameron Quasney
When released in 1964: $2,368

With inflation in 2014: $18,109.24


When the quintessential muscle car debuted in 1964, Ford was floored by the demand for its flashy new ride. 22,000 Mustangs were sold on the first day alone, with some customers sleeping in their cars at the dealerships to make sure their vehicles weren't sold by accident.

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7

2 Megapixel Digital Camera


2 Megapixel Digital Camera is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Case of the $500 iPod
Photo:  uploaded by Cameron Quasney
When released in 1999: $1,000 

With inflation in 2014: $1,427.97

While digital cameras had been available to professional photographers in the years preceding the release of the Nikon Coolpix 950, its place in history comes from being the first camera to capture images at a 2 megapixel resolution. To put that in perspective, you can't buy a burner phone anymore with less than 3 megapixel capture capability. 

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8

1 GB SD Memory Card


1 GB SD Memory Card is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Case of the $500 iPod
Photo:  uploaded by Cameron Quasney
When released in 2004: $499 

With inflation in 2014: $628.44

$500! For a memory card! If you dig around the cushions of your couch right now, you can probably find SEVERAL gigs of memory floating around on various cards, but in 2004, when Sandisk released the first SD card to hold 1 gigabyte of data, you would have had to search every couch at Sears to pay for just 1GB. 

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