It is always a good feeling when you buy something new. Be it new clothes, accessories, home appliances or an Apple iPhone. It is common thinking and very common to feel like you need a particular item like you just have to have it. Whichever reason it is for, it generally makes you feel good. Well, at least for a little while. As researches know all too well, the good feeling after the purchase usually does not last long. Give it a couple of days and you will be back to your base level of contentment. However, large companies are well aware of this initial desire for new purchases and try to capitalize on it as much as they can.
Since the very first release in 2007, Apple Inc. has sold well over 2 billion iPhones in total, according to sources. That has translated to over $1 trillion in revenues in 50 quarters of sales to date. And obviously, the company gets richer the more money you spend on things such as your next iPhones.
But what if instead of buying that new iPhone that you might not really need, you chose to be on the other side of the fence? What if you earned money as the company earns more money from others, instead of spending it as the company earns more, from you? Wouldn’t that be something?
In this article, we are going to take a look at the top 20 signature Apple products since 1984, and see how much you could have earned if instead of buying that new product, you opted to invest that money in buying Apple company shares. While this is a theoretical example, I hope it illustrates the power of saving and investing. Before we start, let’s make a few basic premises.
For simplicity, and illustration purposes, we are going to make a few assumptions. First, we are going to hold that you are able to invest the full price of the Apple product into company shares. So, $450 would buy you 1.5 shares at $300 a share. Second, we are going to assume that you are able to hold the shares and sell them on January 17th, 2020. This will be the reference point for our earnings calculations. Finally, we will include all the dividends the company pays out and assume you reinvest your dividends into buying company shares. So, without further ado, let’s get right into the list and see how much you could have earned if you invested in Apple Inc. instead of buying 20 of their signature products.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro
Release Date: 2019-09-20
Release Price: $999
Value today: $1,443
The iPhone 11 Pro is the 13th-generation model since the very first iPhone came out in 2007. It was released just recently, on September the 20th, 2019. The retail price of a standard model at the time of the release was $999. If you had invested those $999 into Apple at the day of the release, you’d have $1,443 in your pocket right now. This means you would have earned $444. That is a 44% return on investment (ROI). Not a bad return for just 1 quarter, huh? More impressively, such a return, if annualized, would come to a whopping 209% annual return rate (or, compound annual growth rate, CAGR in short). This was mostly due to the fact that Apple Inc.’s share price climbed significantly in late 2019. Starting to feel excited yet?
Apple iPhone X
Release Date: 2017-11-03
Release Price: $999
Value today: $1,891
The iPhone X is the 11th generation of the iPhone. It was released on November the 3rd, 2017. The retail price of the model with an average configuration was also $999 at the time of the release. If you invested those $999 on the day of the release, you would have $1,891 right now. Your $1,891 would translate into $892 earnings, which is an 89 percent profit margin. Or, a 33.5% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR). I know what you are probably thinking. It’s a much lesser rate than what the iPhone 11 Pro savings would have earned! I could have earned faster with the iPhone 11 Pro! See how quickly you get excited about earning more? Anyway, let’s continue with our list and go back in time some more.
Apple Generation 1 Air Pods
Release Date: 2016-12-13
Release Price: $139
Value today: $407
If you haven’t heard of them, AirPods are wireless Bluetooth earbuds created by Apple Inc. In addition to playing audio, they also have a built-in microphone that cancels out noise and allows for answering calls and talking to Apple’s digital assistant, Siri. Having no wires, they were and still are extremely popular between young and physically active people. So, why would you not buy them? They only cost $139! Well, if instead of buying them, at their release date on December the 13th 2016, you invested those $139 into Apple Inc shares, you would have $407 today. That is a $268 profit and a 193 percent return on your investment! Annualized, this would have earned you a 41.5% annual return.
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Apple iPhone 6
Release Date: 2014-09-19
Release Price: $649
Value today: $2,210
iPhone 6 was the 8th generation iPhone series by Apple Inc. Released on September 19th, 2014, they came with larger 4.7 and 5.5 inches displays, a faster processor, upgraded cameras, improved LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity and many more features that lured consumers. Their medium level iPhone 6 cost around $649 on the release date. If you had invested your savings form this product, your savings would be worth a total of $2,210. That represents earnings of $1,561 and a return on investment of 241 percent. Such a return, annualized comes to around a 26% annual return rate.
Apple iPad Air
Release Date: 2013-11-01
Release Price: $499
Value today: $2,629
iPad Air was the 1st generation iPad Air designed, marketed and produced by Apple Inc. It features a thinner design with similarities to the iPad Mini 2, released prior. The iPad Air was released on November 1st, 2013 for a retail price of $499. If you had invested that money into buying shares of Apple as of the release date, you would have a total of $2,629 by now. That represents earnings of $2,130. Your return on investment would be 427%, within a 6 year period. Such a return comes to a 31% annual growth rate.
Apple iPhone 4S
Release Date: 2011-10-14
Release Price: $649
Value today: $5,204
The iPhone 4S is the 5th generation iPhone manufactured by Apple Inc. It comes after the iPhone 4 and precedes the iPhone 5 models. It was the last model of iPhone introduced to the public in the lifetime of Steve Jobs, who died the following day. The retail price of an average configuration model as of the release date was around $649. If you had invested these savings in Apple shares, you would have a total of $5,204 in your account today. That is a profit of $4,555 and represents an increase of 702% on your investment. That comes to around 29% compounded annual rate of growth.
Generation 1 iPad
Release Date: 2010-04-03
Release Price: $499
Value today: $7,098
The Generation 1 iPad was the very first tablet computer produced by Apple Inc. It basically connected the gap between the iPhone and a laptop, improving user experience in many ways. The company has sold more than 350 million iPads to date and it is one of the more successful ideas Apple has ever come up with. The release price of this initial batch of table computers was $499. If instead of buying that revolutionary product, you opted for investing it into Apple shares, you would have a total of $7,098 sitting in your account right now. That represents a return on investment of 1,322 percent. While such a return comes down to a 31% annual return rate. Not a bad return for a $500 investment! And it is only getting better as we move back in time!
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Apple MacBook Air
Release Date: 2008-01-29
Release Price: $1,799
Value today: $45,848
The MacBook Air is a line of laptop computers developed and produced by Apple Inc. It consists of a full keyboard, an aluminum case, and a thin light structure. It was initially marketed as an ultra-portable top level, premium laptop, above the previous MacBook line. However, with time it has become an entry-level product, below the performance of the current MacBook Pro. It was released on January 29th, back in 2008 and sold for a retail price of $1,799. If you had invested this hefty sum of money into buying Apple shares, you would have ended up with a much heftier sum of money, amounting to $45,848 as of today. That is a total return on your investment of 2,499%! In other words, you would have earned a 31% annual interest rate on your initial investment for 12 years straight!
Apple iPod Touch
Release Date: 2007-09-05
Release Price: $299
Value today: $6,894
The iPod Touch is an all-purpose media device designed and produced by Apple Inc. It is not a smartphone as it does not use cellular network data. However, features such as Wifi connectivity, music player, digital camera, web browser, and gaming features were all added to the device. As of its release date on September 5th, 2007 it was priced at an affordable $299. If you had invested this money into buying Apple shares instead, your investment would be worth a total of $6,894 today. That is a return of 2,206% on your investment. And it represents a 29 percent annual rate of return over a period of more than 12 years.
Generation 1 iPhone
Release Date: 2007-06-29
Release Price: $499
Value today: $13,674
Do you still remember that legendary Steve Jobs presentation of the very first iPhone? How he mislead us into believing that Apple has come up with three new products, only to let us grasp that what he is talking about is a single device, incorporating all of the three former aforementioned devices? As it turned out, he was introducing the very first iPhone to the general public. And as history has shown us, this first generation iPhone came to inspire 12 more generations of iPhones. As mentioned in the introduction of this article, it has led to more than 2 billion iPhones being sold worldwide and generated a total of more than $1 trillion in revenues ever since its release.
So, what if you participated on the other side of the fence and instead of buying it for the retail price of $499 on its release date on June 29th, 2007, you invested this sum of money into the company? Well, you would have made a total of $13,674 as of today. That represents a 2,640% return on your investment, and an annual growth rate of 30% for 12 years and 6 months.
Apple MacBook Pro
Release Date: 2006-01-10
Release Price: $1,999
Value today: $87,626
Going back in time even further than the first iPhone, we will increasingly see laptops, and eventually stationary computers in the list. This is what Apple was all about back in the day, before the likes of iPhones and iPads, as computers were the major part of the company’s revenue.
The MacBook Pro is a line of Macintosh portable computers designed and manufactured by Apple Inc. Since its release date on January 10th, 2006 it has since become a higher-end laptop, above the performance of the MacBook Air which was released later than the first MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro was introduced into the market for a price of $1,999. If you had invested this money in buying the shares of Apple Inc. you would have generated over $85,000 in profits. That amounts to a 4,283 percent return on investment. Whereas on an annual basis, it would have amounted to a 31% CAGR over a 14 year period.
Apple iPod Nano
Release Date: 2005-09-07
Release Price: $199
Value today: $13,560
The iPod Nano is a portable media player designed and manufactured by Apple. It is the 7th generation iPod developed by Apple. The iPod Nano is primarily a media player, however, apparently, increasingly with time becoming quite similar to and leading to the iPhone. It was first released into the market on September 7th of 2005 and sold for a price of $199. If you had saved this money and invested it in Apple shares, you would have generated well over $13,000. That represents a return on your investment of 6,714% and a CAGR of 34% over a period of 14 years and 5 months.
Apple Mac mini
Release Date: 2005-01-22
Release Price: $499
Value today: $46,995
The Mac mini is a desktop computer developed and manufactured by Apple. It is the only consumer laptop computer to be shipped without a keyboard, a display or a mouse. The Mac mini was introduced to the market on January 22nd, 2005 with a price tag of $499. If you had decided to save this amount of money instead of buying the product on its release date, and invested the savings into shares of Apple, you would have accumulated a total of $46,995 by this very day. That represents an astounding 9,318 per cent return on your investment! If you were to break it down into an annual rate, you would have earned a 35% rate of return on your investment, for the duration of 15 years.
Release Date: 2002-04-29
Release Price: $1,099
Value today: $317,211
As we go back in time, we enter times when Apple has experienced tremendous growth in a short amount of time, which would have translated into abnormally high compounded annual rates of growth in your investment value throughout extended periods of time. One of the products that witnessed this was the eMac.
The eMac is an all in one Macintosh desktop computer developed by Apple Computer Inc. It was initially aimed at the education market, but later was made available for the mass market and the general public. It was released on April 29th, 2002 and had a price tag of $1,099. Had you saved this money and invested it in Apple shares at the time of the eMac’s release, you would have ended up with $317,211 as of today. That represents an increase in your initial investment value of 28,764%. Translated into annual terms, you would have earned a whopping 38 percent for the duration of almost 18 years! Not a bad return at all, huh?
Generation 1 iPod
Release Date: 2001-10-23
Release Price: $399
Value today: $139,500
The iPod is a line of portable media players and multi-purpose pocket computers developed and manufactured by Apple Inc. It was the product that later transformed into the iPod Touch and led to the development of the iPhone line. The first generation 1 iPod was released to the market on the 23rd of October, 2001. It had a price tag of $399. If you had participated in what followed after its release and taken advantage of all the next products that followed suit, you would have more than $139,000 in your pocket right now. That is a 34,862% return on your initial investment. Split into annual terms, you would have earned a whopping 38 percent on your investment throughout a duration of 18 years!
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Release Date: 1999-06-21
Release Price: $1,599
Value today: $454,851
The iBook is a line of laptop computers designed, produced and sold by Apple Computer Inc. It was the first mass-consumer product to offer Wi-Fi connectivity. Released to the mass market on June 21st, 1999, it sold for $1,599. Had you invested this money into Apple stock at the time, you would have $454,851 in your pocket right now. This represents a 28,346% return on your investment, and a compounded annual rate of growth of 32% throughout a duration of more than 20 years.
Release Date: 1998-08-15
Release Price: $1,299
Value today: $423,588
The iMac is a line of all-in-one Macintosh desktop computers designed and built by Apple Inc. It has been the primary part of Apple’s consumer desktop offerings since its debut and has evolved significantly ever since. The iMac was released on the 15th of August, back in 1998. The introductory price was $1,299. If you had invested this amount of money into buying Apple shares back then, you would be sitting with a value of $423,588 in your account as of today. That is a 32,509% return on your initial investment and would have earned you an annualized rate of return of 31% throughout more than 21 years.
Apple Power Macintosh
Release Date: 1995-03-14
Release Price: $4,000
Value today: $1,763,172
As we move into the last 3 products on our list, we are going to see some crazy numbers, both in terms of nominal earnings, and return on investment figures. Had you invested your savings valued at the price of these last 3 products back in the day, you would have earned significantly more than a million dollars in each case. So, let’s finish our list with a bang.
Back in 1995, on March the 14th, Apple Inc. released the Power Macintosh into the market. It is a line of personal computers designed, produced, and sold by Apple Computer, Inc. as part of the Macintosh brand. It was seen as quite a groundbreaking product back in the day and was described as “The most important technical evolution of the Macintosh since the Mac II debuted in 1987”.
The Power Macintosh had a selling price of $4,000. However, had you decided to invest this comparatively tiny sum of money into buying Apple stock, you would have ended up being a millionaire today. To be more specific, you would have an astonishing 1,763,172 US dollars sitting in your account today. That is a return on investment of 43,979%, and an annual compounded rate of growth of 28% throughout the duration of 25 years.
Apple Macintosh Portable
Release Date: 1989-09-20
Release Price: $7,300
Value today: $14,89,0527
The Macintosh Portable is a portable computer designed, produced and sold by Apple Computer Inc. It was the first battery-powered Macintosh that gained significant praise from the critics. However, sales to consumers were quite low. It was introduced into the market on the 20th of September, 1989, for a steep price tag of $7,300. However, if you had invested this money with Apple at the time, you would have a total of $14,89,0527 sitting in your account right now. In other words, you’d be a true multi-millionaire. Such an increase in value corresponds to a 203,880% return on your investment. In annualized terms, you would have earned a rate of return of 29%, for a duration of over 30 years.
Apple Macintosh 128K
Release Date: 1984-01-24
Release Price: $2,495
Value today: $28,43,7717
And here are. We are back in the mid-80-s to reveal the final Apple product selection on our list. The device in question is the Macintosh 128K personal computer, released as the Apple Macintosh. It is the original, first Apple Macintosh personal computer. It had a whopping 128 KB (yes, kilobytes, not megabytes) of RAM and a single 400 KB floppy disk drive. Despite its comparatively low specifications to nowadays standards, it was a breakthrough signature product of Apple, which preceded tremendous growth in the value of the company.
The Apple Macintosh was released way back, on January 24th of 1984. It sold for a price of $2,495 (over $6,000 as of today). If you had taken the chance to invest this money into Apple stock on the day of the release, you would have a total of 28,43,7717 US dollars sitting in your account today! That is 28 million US dollars, from a $2,495 investment! In terms of percentage returns, you would have earned a staggering 1,139,688% return on your investment! And that corresponds to a 30% annualized return over a 36 year period!
In this article, we have taken a look at how much you would have earned if you had invested in a selection of 20 Apple products throughout the last 36 years. What you probably noticed is that you could have earned astonishing amounts of money by saving comparatively small sums of money and investing it into shares.
To give you some final figures, the total nominal value (unadjusted for inflation) of the 20 Apple products we have reviewed in this article comes to a total of $27,918, throughout 36 years. That is around $775 each year. If instead of buying all those Apple products as they came out, you invested that money into buying Apple shares, you would have ended up with a total of $46,662,045 today!
Here is a snapshot of all of the figures we have discussed in this article:
I hope this illustrates the power of saving and investing. On the one hand, not acting on those consumer impulses is an admirable trait. It takes discipline and self-control. However, this alone is not enough to earn you a fortune. If you just let the money sit in your bank account, in the end, price inflation will eat them up and leave a big hole in your savings and purchasing power. Hence, it is important to invest your money into something productive.
It may be investing in real estate, stocks, bonds (although in a recent environment they are not as lucrative), or even trading futures, forex and options (however, it involves much more risk and reward). Whatever the choice, it will most likely be a much better investment over the long run, than stagnating money in your bank account.
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