Calculator prices

Yesterday, I did some quick back-of-the-envelope and claimed that Flip cameras are similar in relative cost to pocket calculators in the mid-late 1970s. That is: around the time when pocket calculators became ubiquitous, and changed the way we did arithmetic forever.

Poking around the Bank of England’s inflation calculator, and the ONS’s earnings data, it looks to me like the relative cost of the iPad is more like that of calculators circa 1973. That is: the iPad is the Sinclair Cambridge of ubiquitous mobile personal computing. We’ve gone from ‘no decent tablets at any price’ to ‘good enough and a week’s wages’ in a single step.

This is the context in which one should assess Fraser Speirs school’s iPad project. By the early 80s, schools were buying calculators for every class, and by the mid-80s we were mandating specific models for exams. With that precedent set, I suspect tablet adoption will be faster.

Is the iPad the Casio fx82 of 2015?

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