Technology giant Apple Inc AAPL has released many revolutionary products over the years that have transformed business segments and pushed the company into new areas. One item launched in 2001 helped transform the company forever.
What Happened: Apple released the iPod in 2001 as one of the first personal electronics products. The company announced it was discontinuing the iPod in May 2022.
The first iPod was released on Oct. 23, 2001. The company followed up with later versions like the iPod Mini in 2004, the iPod Nano in 2006, the iPod Touch in 2007 and several versions of the iPod Shuffle.
The device was one of several items that expanded the product line for Apple away from the computer market, and also one of the many products that were launched with co-founder Steve Jobs serving as Apple CEO.
The success of the iPod led Apple to later push into the phone market with the iPhone, a product that has been extremely successful for the company and remains a huge revenue driver for the tech giant.
“If we didn’t do the iPod, the iPhone wouldn’t have come out,” former Apple Senior Vice President Tony Fadell said. “The iPod brought us confidence. It brought Steve confidence that we could do something outside of the map and that we could actually continue to innovate in new areas.”
The iPod changed the music industry forever, with options to buy songs separately from a full album and several a-la-carte options. The music player also helped boost the share price of Apple with early success.
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Investing $1,000 in Apple: Apple shares traded around $19.60 on Oct. 23, 2001. A $1,000 investment in Apple could have purchased 51.02 shares at the time of the iPod release.
Over the last 21 years, Apple stock has also split several times with a 2-for-1 split in 2005, a 7-1 split in 2014 and a 4-1 split in 2020.
The hypothetical investment would now be 2,857.12 shares.
Based on a price of $154.50 for Apple shares at the time of writing, the $1,000 investment would now be worth $441,425.04. This represents a return of 44,042.5% over the last 22+ years.
For comparison, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY, which tracks the S&P 500 Index, is up 373.9% over the same time period.
Not every investment will produce the same returns as Apple's since the launch of the iPod. The lesson here is that new product releases are important milestones for investors to monitor.
Early sales data and demand can show how successful a product is and could be in the future.
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