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What if you had bought Apple stock instead of that iPod?

April 27, 2010 |  6:56 pm

Jobs-ipodSometimes, especially when we're down on our luck and looking at all the money we've wasted on frivolous gadgets, we might ask what would have happened if we had invested.

Web developer Kyle Conroy provides an easy-to-read spreadsheet to illustrate how shortsighted we all were. It's called What If I Had Bought Apple Stock Instead?

There's probably no better company to play this game with because, as The Times pointed out last week, "There's no stopping Apple -- or its stock price."

Had you resisted Apple's dancing silhouettes and the white headphones attached to everyone's ears, and used that money for Apple stock, you'd be able to buy quite a few more than just that one iPod.

Have a look at the chart. Investing $299, the cost of a third-generation iPod (the one with the touch-activated buttons) when that device hit the market on April 28, 2003, would now equate to $11,685.

That $5,700 PowerBook laptop in 1997? Cash out now, and you'd be rolling in $330,563.

Conroy's project lets him explore his own myopic financial outlook. He's never owned Apple stock; the idea came from a suggestion on the website Hacker News, he wrote in an e-mail. "It simply sounded like a fun project," he wrote.

Fun for some, depressing for others.

-- Mark Milian
twitter.com/markmilian

Photo: Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrates the Music Store and the third-generation iPod player. Credit: Associated Press

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