Had You Bought Apple Shares Instead Of Apple Products…

Since the first iPod, Apple’s been on a roll getting consumers hooked onto their products. The latest was the release of iPad 2 last Wednesday. No doubt this will be lapped up by Apple’s eager legions! A square foot of an Apple store generates $5,980 in annual revenue, that’s how profitable they are! Investors love Apple, consumers love Apple! Apple’s in a very envious position!

So I thought I’ll try out a different experiment. What if, instead of buying Apple products, one invested the equivalent price in Apple shares? Apple’s growth since the first iPod launch has been phenomenal! For the experiment, I chose the closing share price as of the launch date of the product without considering taxes for the purchase or commissions for the trade. For iPhone I’m using the price as bought with a contract.


iPod 1G Oct 23,2001
If you had bought Apple shares instead of the original iPod when it was released in October of 2001, you would be sitting on a return on investment of $16,073.78 on your original $399! That’s a return of 3928.52%.

IMac G5 PowerPC Aug 31, 2004
In August of 2004, Apple released the gorgeous all-in-one iMac G5 for $1299. Instead, had you invested this amount on Apple shares, your shares would be worth $27,013.41 today! A return of 1979.56%!

Mac Mini Jan 11, 2005
The Mac Mini, the first ‘affordable’ Mac, retailed for $499 when it was introduced in 2005. You could’ve made $5,544.93 or 1011.21% return on your investment!

iMac Intel Jan 10, 2006
Apple’s great switcheroo! Apple decided to ditch it’s anti-Intel stance and embrace it instead in 2006 with the all new Intel iMac!. The price? $1299. Your returns today? $5,762.44! A return of 343.61%!

Original iPhone Jun 29, 2007
Apple shook the smart phone world with the introduction of the iPhone in June 2007. You could get an iPhone with 2 year contract for $399. But the same invested in Apple shares (not counting monthly fees) would’ve netted you $1,172.18 or a gain of 193.78%!

iPhone 3G Jul 11, 2008
The iPhone with a speed bump – Apple introduced the iPhone 3G for $99 in July 2008. 107.76% or $205.67 gain, had you purchased Apple shares on that day!

Mac 17 inch unibody Jan 6, 2009
The MacBook Unibody! In the beginning of 2009, Apple introduced the Unibody Macbook for $2799 for the 17″ version. The same amount in equivalent Apple shares would’ve netted you $10,797.30 or a gain of 285.76%!

iPad 1st Generation Apr 3, 2010
2010 Was the year of the iPad! The tablet that revolutionized the struggling tablet market! Apple priced it competitively at $499. Your investment would’ve been worth $750 or 50.46% today!

iPad 2nd Gen
Last Tuesday, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad 2 for the same price!

What do you think this would be worth in 5 years if you decide to buy Apple shares today?

(I’ll update this post on March 2, 2016, be sure to check back! :-) )

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69 thoughts on “Had You Bought Apple Shares Instead Of Apple Products…

  1. That’s a pretty tough question to answer. I love apple, I think they embody more than hardware and software, but rather an experience. I’ve never used a product, no matter if it’s the ipod or the macbook, that is more fun, simple, and most importantly, intuitive.

    My main concern is what happens to apple when the sickly Steve Jobs no longer controls the reins. We all saw what happened the first time he left. Those are big shoes to fill.

  2. Wow, mind blowing. I don’t buy Apple product because I think they are overpriced. Apple stock on the other hand, looks overpriced, but it will probably keep going up as long as they keep coming up with innovative products.

    • The fact that the nearest competition is years behind in most of Apple’s products speaks volumes! Year 2009 was a very good year to buy Apple shares!

    • As far as overpriced.. considering earnings and the fact the company has nearly $70/share in cash reserves.. not really seeing the overpriced.. maybe at $450… but in my mind it’s currently trading at a discount in my opinion.


  3. This is just awesome! Goes to show that you should invest in yourself before stuff that just gets obsolete in 6 months.

    • I actually invested in both! I bought my first AAPL share in 2003 or 2004 I think! Been hoarding up ever since! I also bought my first Apple product around the same time!

  4. Great Comparison! Shows how much consumer products you should buy and invest instead.

    • True! But not too many companies are there which are like Apple! Palm is one good example of a company with a lot of potential that fizzled out.

  5. Awesome article. Damm, you must be rolling in the dough. Terrific move back in 2003! I still remember talking with a friend back in the early 2000′s. “This company Apple is sitting on tons of cash.” I didn’t listen. I believe the stock was around $12… Don’t mind me while I go throw up! :)

    • No Buck, it’s not what you think! After the crash and after losing quite a bit, I decided to stay out of the market (rookie mistake!). But then got introduced to the Mac at work. Used it and decided I should invest in this ‘quirky’ fruit company. Remember, this was before the iPhone and the Apple stores. I think this was probably the only stock at that time I owned!

      Bought this stock without looking at fundamentals, which in hindsight is not a very smart thing to do! But, it paid off and I’m not complaining!

      But then this is a technology company – you haven’t won till you actually take profits!

      • I like your attitude. You recognized your rookie mistakes and learned from it. I had to endure some blowhards who scooped Apple back in the day. Were they lucky or diligent? Guess shouldn’t be too bitter. :)

        Good point about actually taking profits. Had some friends who invested in some high fliers. They were making paper gains hand over fist. Recession hit and wiped it all out and then some. I think he stuck to his guns and made it all back and more. The stock market really is a roller coaster!

  6. Those who bought early on deserve the spectacular returns. Whether it is overvalued today is difficult to tell…we don’t know what’s coming next. We do know that Apple has hit on the formula for producing “cool” products that create excitement people can’t resist.
    I remember asking a student at the end of a class what he was listening to and he showed me the iPod as other students gathered around. They all had questions – how much was it, where did he buy it etc.
    I bought Apple shares the next day but after making a nice gain, sold way, way too early.

  7. Wow…absolutely fascinating. It is easier for most consumers to consider consumption over investment though. Consumption can be investment though if such tools are used to generate revenue in a business.

    Nice post.

  8. Really enjoyed this MoneyCone, great idea you had to put this together. Sure makes me wish I paid more attention to technology stocks. I’m even in the software development field so I could probably reasonably judge IT companies to invest in.

    Oh well, you know what they say about hindsight ;)

    • Glad you liked it SM! Tech stocks go to giddying heights, but then when they fall, they fall as fast!

      ‘The higher they climb, the harder they fall’! So, till you actually sell for a profit, you haven’t made anything! :)

  9. Amazing post! Kind of gives new meaning to paying yourself first.

  10. Fascinating…. “If only” are words I’ve uttered on more than a few occasions.

    Brings to mind the last scene in Forrest Gump: “Lt. Dan bought me some shares of a fruit company”..

  11. You’d be rich. Just as if you’d bought shares in the mutual fund companies instead of their products.

  12. I actually got an Iphone and cannot be any more happier. ATT had a promotion for a 3G and I got it for 49.99. Love it. I love Apple in general. But I do buy it very seldomly and ONLY when there is a promotion going on. Interesting though about shares… Makes you really think. Great post!

  13. Hah maybe I’ll institute a new policy of actually buying shares of Apple when I buy one of their products. I just wish I felt as good about them as a company as I do about their products.

  14. What an interesting post. I thought Apple was overvalued a year ago, and I was obviously wrong.

    Regarding what apple will be worth in 5 years, I guess it depends on how innovative they can continue to be, and if the competition can come up with anything.

  15. Fascinating post, Money Cone. Good stuff! This really puts into perspective just how successful that company has been.

    It also serves as a reminder of the opportunity cost of funds – whether Apple investments or otherwise. As Warren Buffet is reported to have viewed it – that dollar you spend now could be worth $10 later.

    • Thanks Squirrelers! I’m surprised by how popular this post has become looking at the stats!

      Apple’s growth has been phenomenal! The question is, is this the beginning? ;)

  16. *sigh* I’ll be “that guy”, who takes the time to point out that the picture of the “unibody MacBook Pro” isn’t a picture of a unibody MacBook Pro, it’s the old, pre-unibody version. The biggest giveaway is the button-release for the body, as the unibody version uses magnetic latches. The plastic seam around the rest of the lower part of the body is the other dead giveaway to it being pre-unibody.

    Good article, though!

  17. I bought 100 shares of Apple in the early 1980s when I fell in love with my Apple IIe, clearly the best investment I ever made. If I had bought a 1,000 shares instead, I would retire now instead of waiting a few years.

  18. Excellent and very different. If that’s what you were going for, you definitely succeeded.

  19. Hope the company culture can still help Apple to create popular product without Steve Jobs. If proven, I think Apple Shares is a good choice.

  20. Yikes! I think I’m going to be sick with regret. :O It’s amazing how different technology stocks look when you put it all together like this. Wow! I blame my age.

  21. Very interesting post. Investing in an apple stock may really be a good idea since more people are really into Apple products lately. The company has been the front runner in the tablet and smart phones market and they continue to do so because of a very good R&D department.

    I am a user of one of the Apple products, the iPhone, and I can really see how people can get hook into it.

  22. I almost didn’t want to read this, cause I knew I would be sick to my stomach. Ugh, I really wish I would have bought Apple shares. Especially when I went down the list and realized I had bought most of the items! (As I type on my Macbook…). Great post! I’ve got a friend on Facebook that is a ‘Apple Fan Boy’ that needs to see this lol.

    • It’s funny because those who bought Apple product like an iPod regret not having bought stock, those who bought stock regret it having sold it too soon, those who bought stock and having held on to it, regret not having purchased more!

      I belong to the third category as well! But as I always say, till you actually sell and take profit, all these are simply incredible numbers.

  23. I bought Apple stock when it traded at $159 per share … now its around $340. Double return! Unfortunately I didn’t have much money at the time, so I could only buy 4 shares. But that’s better than nothing!

  24. This post is absolutely brilliant. Genius actually. It really shows the impact of spending vs saving and well, it’s significant even on small purchases like Ipods.

  25. I bought a Mac in 1984 for about $2400.00 with the printer and all. I cringe to think what that would be worth. At least I made couple years salary programming on it … so I am ahead.

  26. This article is pretty awesome. Interesting to see how much money could have been made whenever you look back at a chart or something such as this. But, with that being said, the reason I make money is so I can buy awesome Apple products!!

  27. Ha, great article! Reminds me a lot of “The Millionaire Next Door”. Great book and similar message to the one underlying this post.

  28. These is a sweet article. Really original and well thought out. Of course, it always easy to say in hindsight I should have bought this stock, but hey, even if you were to buy the stock a year ago you would be up huge!

  29. It is impossible to predict what the price of AAPL will be in 5 years. Most would like to think that it will be higher. What I do know is that for a 10% premium on the current purchase price, you can buy Apple stock and buy puts good through January of 2013 that will guarantee you won’t lose more than 25% of your total capital.

    I thought this was a wonderful post and very creative, by the way.

  30. Seriously, if only I had dumped my ENTIRE LIFE SAVINGS in APPLE! That would have been so perfect. Ohwell, I’m a steady eddy kind of low risk guy!

  31. Wow its obvious we would all be a lot wealthier if we were to have opted for the cheap and invested the rest into AAPL! Live and learn I guess. Even though I can’t Live without my iPad!

  32. I was really close to buying shares of apple when itunes was just starting to make it. I saw a ton of potential there, but i’ve never really been a stock investor and i let it pass by.
    But its always like that when you look backward ;)

    I’ve had alot of really bad investment ideas that i passed up too. I’m pretty happy about those.

  33. I love Apple, and my next investment will probably be with the company. I really wish I would have invested in Apple earlier, but I’ll play catch up now!

  34. You should update this with the current surging stock price.

  35. Now that Steve is gone, do you think Apple stock will start declining? I’m sure it will continue to go up but it’s just a thought.

  36. Life is a collection of experiences. Here is some interesting statistics on the shares:

    - Only 202 of the 500 biggest companies in the United States in 1980 were still in existence 20 years later.
    - On December 29, 1989, Tokyo’s Nikkei stock average reached its all-time peak of 38,915.87. Twenty years later, the Nikkei has never again reached that level — and, in 2009, reached a new low of 7,054.98.

    Where would we be with many wonderful projects – Atari, Nokia phones and many others?

  37. This article jumped out at me because yesterday I read a blog post which did something similar. Her comparison was done with the Air Jordan shoes and she said that if a parent had bought $1980 in Nike shares instead of $180 for one pair of shoes per yr for the last eleven years, their earnings would have been approximately $7584… Those figures are crazy tho.

  38. It is much easier to buy the product than the shares :) Having the product is much more fun! However, the way to financial freedom is paved with delayed gratification and self discipline. You are better off buying the shares

  39. I just bought Appl. Stock 3/15 @ 124.00

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