What would happen if, instead of purchasing the most recent iPhone model every time Apple introduced a new one, you invested the same amount of money in Apple stock?
There is a tweet that is doing the rounds that claims that you would have hundreds of millions of dollars more today if you had invested that money in Apple shares rather than purchasing a new iPhone each time one was released. The math is incorrect (if you had spent $20,000 on Apple shares when the rumours of the iPhone first started, you would have had at best $1.5 million today), but in any event, it would only make sense if you were clairvoyant in 2007 and knew when Apple would be selling phones and at what price.
I felt a more fair approach to calculating it would be to picture buying a top-of-the-line iPhone every time Apple launches a new iPhone or spending the same amount of money on Apple shares. Both of these options would cost the same amount of money. My estimates show that if you had done that, you would have spent close to $16,000 on iPhones over the course of those years, which is equivalent to close to $20,000 in today’s money. If you had invested that money instead in Apple shares, you would have approximately $147,000 today, which is a profit of around $131,000.
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