The iPad 2 won’t do everything. It does what it does well enough, though, that if you spend $499 for one you almost certainly won’t regret it. Here’s what you might regret, if past performance is any guide (a big if): not spending that money on Apple’s stock.
Kyle Conroy has put together a chart showing how much your investment would be worth if you’d skipped buying Apple products over the last 15 years and put the money in the company’s stock instead. For example, skip the purchase of a $5700 Apple PowerBook G3 250 in 1997 and put the money into Apple stock, and your shares would now be worth $330,563.
Even relatively new customers can find reasons for regret. If you’d skipped the purchase of an Apple Xserve G5 in 2005 for $3999 and bought Apple stock instead, your investment would now be worth $33,877.
Ugly. Of course, Apple being a cult company, for many investors buying stock or buying Apple gear isn’t an either or proposition. Many do both.
More importantly, don’t let Apple’s past stock performance stop you from buying a shiny new iPad 2 today. With Apple now the second most valuable company on Earth — with a valuation of $324.01 billion — the law of large numbers makes matching the gains Apple investors have enjoyed over the past decade unlikely.