What a $1,000 investment in Apple in 1996 looks like today

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money
Note to self: always bet on Apple.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

As a tech fan, there are plenty of times — particularly when you hear about billionaire investors and record-breaking stock prices — when you wonder whether you would have had the foresight to predict things turning out the way they have.

Would you have bet big on Apple around the time of its 1980 IPO? Was it obvious that Steve Jobs was going to turn around the company in 1997? Or would you have been the equivalent of folks calling the Titanic an unsinkable ship, and pouring your life savings into pre-crash dot-com companies?

An amazing new data-viz shows how the returns on a $1,000 investment made in Apple, Microsoft and IBM would have fared over the next 20 years following January 1, 1996. Check it out below:

Apple is ‘biggest destroyer of wealth this year’

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Apple stock
Apple stock is leading the way for losing investors money.
Screenshot: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

We can add another award to Apple’s long list, although the company might not be too happy to accept it: The iPhone maker’s stock lost the most value of any tech company this year.

The news comes out of a study from USA Today that reports a shocking average 14 percent decline in value from 462 tech companies. That drop resulted in total losses of $529 billion, but Cupertino is the lead horseman in this year’s stockpocalypse.

Panicking investors are missing a crucial Apple metric

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money
Cook says that Apple is no tax dodger.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple soothsayers have been predicting doom and gloom for the iPhone-maker ever since Tim Cook dropped the company’s Q1 2016 earnings. iPhone sales are projected to decline. The iPad is still struggling. And even the Mac is taking a drop.

This is the end for Apple according to some Wall Street crazies, but they’re missing a key metric in Apple’s earnings report that shows the company still has a lot of growing to do thanks to it’s huge install base.

2015: The year Apple super-sized its ambitions

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Apple year in review 2015
2015 was a great year for Apple -- mostly.
Image: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's Best of 2015 You could say 2015 was a product-ive year for Apple. The company entered the wearable market with the Apple Watch, released a hugely updated version of the Apple TV streaming box, unveiled the massive iPad Pro (and considerably less massive iPad Mini 4), took on tune-streaming with the Apple Music service, and made its annual update to the iPhone with the 6s and 6s Plus.

We also saw updates to the operating systems that run all those things, as well as a new desktop OS in El Capitan, but it wasn’t all great news. Apple encountered lawsuits, shakeups and investigations by countries and entire federations thereof.

So whether we ultimately decide Cupertino had a good or bad year, at least it was pretty interesting. Relive the ups and downs with this Apple year in review 2015, Cult of Mac-style.

Rumors of iPhone crash in 2016 may be greatly exaggerated

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Apple raked in the cash last quarter.
Don't expect Apple's iPhone business to crash any time soon.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

This time of year yields more Apple doom predictions than New Year’s resolutions, so it’s no surprise that Apple analysts have been naming 2016 as the year iPhone sales finally fall off a cliff.

But according to Brean Capital, not only is Apple stock still worth buying, with a $170 price target, but investors should look through the “supply chain ‘noise'” and see the potential for iPhone sales to hit around 250 million units next year — or 7 percent to 10 percent growth from Apple’s already stellar 2016.