Abhimanyu GhoshalManaging Editor
Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].
Over the past 40 years, Apple has created several game-changing devices that have shaped the way the world thinks about technology.
Along the way, the company also released special editions of a few of its products – some of which were easy to buy back in the day and a couple that commanded higher prices than a Lamborghini.
Here’s a look at a few collectible Apple devices you can get your hands on, for a total of about $1.45 million.
iPod U2 Special Edition – $80
In 2004, Apple teamed up with U2 to launch a special edition of its iPod portable music player with a red click wheel surrounded by a black enclosure as well as the band members’ signatures engraved into the mirror-finish back.
Purchase of the $349 20GB device scored you a $50 discount on The Complete U2, which Apple claimed was the first-ever digital box set. The collection included more than 400 tracks spanning the band’s discography running up to ‘How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb’, which cost $150 on iTunes.
Two years later, Apple released an updated version of its U2 iPod, with 30GB of storage and a free coupon for 30 minutes of exclusive footage of the band, for $329.
Fast forward a decade to the present day and you’ll find that the company has killed off its iPod Classic line, much to fans’ chagrin. However, you can still find old iPods on eBay, including the 30GB U2 edition for as little as $80 in the US.
Apple IIGS Woz edition – $450
Although it bore a similar moniker to its predecessors, the Apple IIGS was head and shoulders above other personal computers in the series.
Launched in 1986, the IIGS (Graphics and Sound) was the last of the Apple II line and came with a Western Design Center 65C816 2.8MHz processor with 256kB RAM, and also included 128kB of storage.
It was the first Apple computer to feature a color user interace, a Large Scale Integration (LSI) chip designed by Steve Wozniak and a sample-based synthesizer.
To commemorate the Apple II series’ 10th anniversary, 50,000 pieces of a special edition were manufactured with Steve Wozniak’s signature. If you were one of the lucky few to get a IIGS Woz, you could mail in your Apple registration card to receive a certificate of authenticity signed by Wozniak and 12 other engineers, as well as a letter from the co-founder.
Until it was discontinued in 1992, the Apple IIGS was one of the most powerful computers you could buy and one of the most revolutionary compared to its competition. Today, you can find one online for under $500.
Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh – $3,000
Although Apple had designed several all-in-one computers in its lifetime, it had never created something as left-of-field as the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (TAM).
Envisioned and brought to life by a young Sir Jony Ive, ‘Spartacus’, as it was also known, featured a 12.1-inch LCD display capable of 16-bit color as a focal point. The front panel also housed a vertically mounted CD-ROM drive, a Superdrive for floppy disks as well as two speakers.
A separate base unit supplied power and contained a subwoofer to complete the TAM’s Bose sound system. Its keyboard had a built-in trackpad and leather palm rests, and there was also a remote control to adjust TV and FM radio settings on the computer.
When it was released in 1997 to commemorate Apple’s 20th anniversary, the TAM cost a whopping $7,500. Only 12,000 of them were manufactured and sold in just five countries: US, Japan, France, Germany, and the UK. By March 1998, the product was discontinued and discounted to $1,995.
Although the TAM can’t run new software with its original configuration (it came loaded with Mac OS 7.6.1), you can’t deny that it would look killer on any desk even today. Scour around and you might find one in working condition for about $3,000.
Product (RED) Mac Pro – $977,000
Apple has launched plenty of Product (RED)-branded gear – including iPods, iOS device cases and even an Apple Watch – in an effort to raise awareness and funds to battle AIDS across Africa. But perhaps the most notable creation to come out of this collaboration is this one-of-a-kind Mac Pro.
The second generation Mac Pro featured a unique cylindrical shape that allowed Apple to cram a 12-core Intel Xeon processor and dual graphics cards into its aluminium frame to offer twice the performance of its larger boxy predecessor.
Sir Jony Ive and legendary designer Marc Newson came together to create this one-off red variant, which was auctioned off by Sotheby’s for a whopping $977,00 – making it arguably the most expensive personal computer in the world.
Solid Rose Gold Earpods – $461,000
Quick, what’s the most you’ve ever spent on a pair of headphones? Multiply that by your age and you probably won’t even come close to a fraction of what these babies cost.
Another creation from Ive and Newson’s Product (RED) auction, these earpods feature the same design as the $29 earphones included with the iPhone 5 back in 2012.
The only difference is, these are crafted from solid 18k rose gold and came with a custom display case. Sotheby’s estimated they’d be worth between $20,000 and $25,000, but they were so, so wrong. The earpods sold for $461,000 in 2013.
If you own these, you better be listening to some damn fine music.
Colorware iMac Retro – $5,600
Want all the power of today’s computers with the beauty of Apple’s product design language from the 80s? Colorware can sort you out.
The gadget customization outfit can trick out a brand new 27-inch Retina 5K iMac with a classic vanilla finish and rainbow-style Apple logo. You’ll also get a similarly themed wireless keyboard and mouse that normally sell for $399.
Max out the iMac’s configuration options with a 4GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB of flash storage and a 4GB AMD Radeon R9 M395X graphics card, and you’re looking at a spend of about $5,600.
But you’ll want to hurry if you want to get your hands on one – only 25 of these retro iMacs will be made.
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