What a 21 year old 2001 Powerbook G4 would cost in today’s dollars will shock you

An image of an opened Apple Powerbook G4 on a white background. The screen is black with a white glow on one side.
Image of a Powerbook G4 by RedJar
Reading Time: 3 minutes

(how’s that for a click bait headline?)

At some point in my life I inherited several Apple products. The plan was to wipe the data and then get rid of them. But they ended up in my basement, forgotten and abandoned.

This week, I decided to finally dispose of them. The first one to go is a 2001 Powerbook G4 from 2001. Yes, that is 2001, 21 years ago. Based on the model number (M8407), I found it was released on October 16, 2001 and known as the Powerbook 3.3

In 2001, it was a beautiful laptop, thin, minimalist, Titanium, slide in DVD drive. Very different to what we were used to at that time, more like beige plastics.

Specs for the Powerbook G4 (2001)

This Powerbook runs on OS X 10.1. It has 256 MB RAM and a 500 Mhz “blazingly fast” PowerPC processor. And a 20 GB ATA hard drive. It has a DVD drive, Infrared (why? Update: AlexthePuffin mentions it was used for remote control of the CD/DVD player and remotely forward presentation slides), Gigabit Ethernet, S-video and VGA connection and a few USB ports. It also had wireless already. Did I mention the built in 56k V.90 modem and 8MB SDRAM video memory?

Apple press release

I found this press release from Apple from 2001. The price for that time was steep. It mentions a price of USD 2999, but that is already a discounted price from USD 3499 as you can read below.

Greg “Joz” Joswiak is now Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

So how much would that be today?

There are websites that do the math for us, so I checked out https://www.in2013dollars.com and learned that US $3499 then would be the equivalent of US $5878 today. (That is an average inflation rate of 2.51%; the website uses real annual inflation numbers.)

How about Canada?

But I happen to live in Canada, so not only do we pay in Canadian dollars with today’s exchange rate around 1.34 for 1 USD, we also have to pay 13% Harmonised Sales Tax.

Converting it to Canadian dollars changes the total to CAD 7909.78 for us; adding the HST brings the total cost of this laptop in today’s (November 2022) dollars to an astonishing CAD 8938 (remember: 256 MB RAM, 500 Mhz processor and 20 GB ATA HDD and a 56k modem).

That is the price equivalent of 20 Ipads, 9th generation, today. (approx 400 dollars in Canada).

Pick it up

If you are interested in this classic Powerbook to tinker with, you can pick it up. I am not going through the bother of sending it. (Edit November 25: Good news story: Jeff picked it up. He was in university when the laptop came out but had no money to buy it. Twenty years later he finally has one. He’ll make a donation to National Capital Freenet). It plays chess, it has a slide in CD/DVD player, a calculator; the sound card works fine (including the headphone port to an external speaker set and a pretty good sound). You can likely connect it to a home network. Or play music from a USB stick. I can’t get the Internet to work, but that is probably due to my modern router. Therefore I can’t really check the browser. Don’t have your hopes up on browsers on old hardware anyway. It can be painful.

Some links for the Powerbook G4 (2001)

More specs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerBook_G4, https://everymac.com/systems/apple/powerbook_g4/specs/powerbook_g4_550.html

Apple press release (2001): https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2001/08/24Apple-Offers-Aggressive-New-Pricing-on-Titanium-PowerBook-G4/

Inflation website: https://www.in2013dollars.com

Laptop image: Jared C. Benedict

More diversion in this category on my blog: Diversion


  1. I have a powerbook g4 as well, happened to fall into my lap,coincidentally. A fine piece of engineering available to those who appreciate art, even by todays standards.

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