What if you’d bought Apple stock instead of the product?

That new iPad is tempting. But what if you put the money in Apple stock instead?

If the past is any guide, it might be more profitable to buy Apple shares instead of Apple products.

For example, if in 1997 you had bought Apple stock instead of spending $5,700 on the PowerBook laptop, you’d be sitting on about $330,000.

If these sorts of calculations are beyond your skills, Web developer and UC Berkeley computer science student Kyle Conroy has come up with an easy-to-read “Apple Product or Stock” spreadsheet on his website,, that does the math for you.

It shows that, had you resisted Apple’s dancing silhouettes and spent $299 on stock instead of an iPod on April 28, 2003, your investment would be worth more than $11,000 today.

Conroy’s calculator doesn’t yet include the iPad, which was released April 3 and starts at $499. But so far, it looks like stock would be a better deal too.

Apple shares closed at $235.97 on April 1, the last day of market trading before the iPad’s release. They rose $7.04 on Thursday to $268.64. That’s a 14% bump in less than one month, which would give you a $70 profit.