No two Apple products share a closer parallel history than the original iPhone and the original Macintosh computer. Each device was revolutionary for its time. The Macintosh, later known as the Macintosh 128K, was the first mainstream computer to include a graphical user interface similar to the ones we use today. The original Mac OS used movable application windows and included functions such as drag and drop. The 128K also popularized the use of a mouse and was notable for its compact dimensions. The iPhone was the first minicomputer to masquerade as a cellular telephone. It also had an intuitive, exclusively touch-based interface with limited physical buttons and no stylus - a common device for touch-based phones prior to the iPhone.
Both products were also guided by principles of easy-to-use software and cool design aesthetics, and by a willingness to sacrifice functionality (such as multitasking) to boost overall performance.
So how does Apple's original landmark product, the Mac, compare to the current version of the current iPhone 5s? Let's take a look.
[Read our History of Apple]
A7 vs. Motorola 68000
At the heart of both the iPhone and the Macintosh are two revolutionary processors. The "insanely great" 128K housed the 8MHz Motorola 68000, considered a fast chip for its time because it could handle 16MB of memory at once. The Motorola 68000 went on to power many other Apple computers including the Macintosh 512K, the Macintosh Plus, and the Macintosh SE.
Today, Apple sees its mobile future in the company-designed dual-core 1.3GHz A7 system-on-a-chip (SoC) with 64-bit architecture. The A7 is based on the ARMv8 instruction set.
Alongside the A7 processor is the PowerVR G6430 quad-core graphics unit that can render 1080p video at 30fps, or 720p at 120fps.
Apple has also placed the A7 chip in the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display.
Logic Board Showdown
Zoom out from the processors and you can take a look at the logic board for each device. The iPhone 5s' logic board houses 1GB of RAM and either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of Flash storage (depending on the model), as well as the iPhone 5s' LTE chip, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor, Wi-Fi module and M7 motion co-processor.
The 128K's much larger logic board contains just 128KB of RAM, 64KB of read-only memory (ROM), and no internal storage. The Macintosh logic board measures 8.75 inches by 8.75 inches. To put that size into perspective, you could fit about seven iPhone 5s units onto the surface area of the Macintosh 128K logic board.
In lieu of a hard drive, the 128K relied on 3.5-inch floppy disks that had a maximum memory of 400KB. A single disk had enough space to house the operating system (216KB), one application (MacPaint occupies 68KB), and some user-generated files.
The iPhone 5s features a 4-inch Retina display offering 1136x640-pixel resolution 326ppi.
The original Macintosh had a monochrome 9-inch-diagonal display with a 512-by-342-pixel-resolution bitmapped display. The iPhone 4's screen is a liquid crystal display (LCD), while the 128K had a cathode-ray tube (CRT) fluorescent screen.
The iPhone 5s is a marvel of compact design, with almost no internal real estate wasted on the inside where you'll find the iPhone 5s' 3.8V 1560mAh lithium-polymer battery, 8MP camera on the back and a 1.2MP camera on the front. There's also the Touch-ID fingerprint sensor built into the home button.
A big selling point for the 128K was its compact size: It measured 13.6 inches high by 9.6 inches wide by 10.9 inches deep and was much smaller than the typically wide desktop computers produced in the 1980s. The IBM PC/XT Model 286 released four years later in 1987 was 19.6 inches wide by 16.1 inches tall. In fact, the original Mac's small footprint remains competitive by modern computer standards. Apple's current 21.5-inch all-in-one iMac, for example, measures 17.75 inches high by 20.8 inches wide by 7.4 inches deep.
Inside, the 128K had a lot of extra space set aside to make accommodate the CRT monitor.
Both the iPhone operating system and the 128K OS launched without multitasking. When the 128K came out you could do only one thing at a time on the machine. If you wanted to switch applications you had to insert a 3.5-inch floppy to load the new program. Apple sacrificed a lot of components typical in other computers, including RAM and storage space, to create a machine that was compact and affordable (by Apple standards).
You don't have to switch out disks on the iPhone, but before iOS 4 launched in 2010 you could run only one application at a time on it. Over the generations of iOS Apple has offered multitasking features, with iOS 7 adding large previews of apps running in the background, and allowing some apps to update and reload in the background (this can be a battery drain so it is possible to turn it off).
The Macintosh appeared to sell well at first; Apple reported selling 70,000 units of the 128K in the first 100 days it was on the market, according to The New York Times. But ultimately, sales of the 128K declined due to its high price tag, as well as to the introduction of more-powerful Macintosh models such as the 512k. Despite Apple's desire to create and sell an affordable computer, the 128K's $2,495 price tag was daunting at a time when the average US worker's income was $16,135.07 per year.
On a per byte basis, computer prices have dropped remarkably since 1984. Consider that in 2014 the starting price of the iMac is $1,299, almost half the price of the Macintosh of 1984.
Few products in history have inspired lines as long as those seen at Apple Stores worldwide during iPhone launch days. Apple has sold nearly 60 million iPhones since launching the device in 2007, according to company financial statements. In fact, the appetite for the iPhone appears to be increasing. Apple is set to announce its financial results on Monday night and many expect the company to announce that is has sold more than 50 million iPhones in the Christmas quarter.
[This story originally appeared in 2010 on PC World, we have updated it for the iPhone 5s.]
Images of iPhone 5s components from iFixIt.