History has always been a boring subject for me except when it came to computers. It’s so much fun to read about the evolution of various systems and features over time. One reason why the history of computers interests me is probably because I can relate to it more than I can to all the excesses of the past kings and their queens. The fact that I’m using a particular computer today makes it interesting to know about developments in the recent past leading to this model. It sometimes also helps me predict the future and take decisions.
One of the best documented histories in the development of computers is that of Apple. As the company releases limited products and specifications each year, it has been possible to keep track of all of them. The website www.apple-history.com is amazing, it has the entire specifications, photos and prices of all products released from 1976 onwards. From the data available, I made a small chart to see how the specification has moved up to the latest iMac desktop computers :
What’s interesting to note is that in the past 20 odd years, the specification of computers in the $1000 – $1500 price range has improved a lot and the speed of improvement has increased. You can safely bet that Apple desktop prices will remain in this price range while their specifications will keep improving. What’s also interesting to note from the website is how in the past few years, development is moving towards a wider range of non-desktop mobile products like iPad, iPhone etc.
I wish it was as easy to go through the history of other giants like HP and Dell. If anyone is aware of resources to keep track of their progress, please do add links in the comments.