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Which Is the Better Investment-Apple Stock or Apple Products?

Apple is en fuego. But if you had to choose, which would you rather own — Apple stock or Apple products?

Blogger Kyle Conroyhas run some numbers and determined what would have happened if people had taken the cash they plunked down over the years on an iMac, iPod, iPhone, (though, strangely, not the iPad) and put that money into Apple stock.

The choice is clear—buy the stock.

1998 iMac
Photo by: Masashige Motoe
1998 iMac

For example, if you'd bought an Apple PowerBook G3 250 when it was released on November 10, 1997, it would have cost you a whopping $5,700.

Are you still using it? I didn't think so.

If you'd instead put $5,700 into Apple stock on that day, that investment would be worth...wait for it...I hope you're sitting down...$330,563. (My calculations came to $321,387 but that may be due to a selloff today.)

On the other hand, if you'd taken that $5,700 on November 10, 1997 and bought Microsoft stock, it would now be worth...$13,225. Dell ? $9,943.

The examples continue.

Did you buy the iPod for $399 on October 23, 2001 or did you buy stock that day? If you bought stock, that investment would be worth almost $12,000. Even if you waited until the iPhone debuted in 2007 and taken $499 to your broker instead of your Apple Store, you would have nearly tripled your money.

I ran the numbers on the iPad, which started at $499 when it debuted Saturday, April 3. If you'd put that money into Apple shares on April 2, and it would now be worth $551, which may be about break even if you consider sales taxes.

Apple Newton MessagePad
Photo by: Staecker
Apple Newton MessagePad

Of course, for many, Apple products give you something stock investments can't always buy — joy.

At least most of them have.

The Newton MessagePad cost $700 when it hit the market in 1993.

It was discontinued a year later.

And, well, if you bought one, I hate to rub it in, but that $700 in Apple shares would now be worth more than $26,000.

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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