Value of Apple hits $3 trillion

Apple, the computer company that started in a California garage in 1976, is now worth $3 trillion. It became the first publicly traded company to ever reach the figure on Monday, when its stock briefly eclipsed $182.86 a share before closing at $182.01.

Apple’s value is even more remarkable considering how rapid its recent ascent has been. In August 2018, Apple became the first American company ever to be worth $1 trillion, an achievement that took 42 years. It surged past $2 trillion two years later. Its next trillion took just 16 months and 15 days.

Such a valuation would have been unfathomable a few years ago. Now it seems like another milepost for a corporate titan that is still growing. Another tech giant, Microsoft, could follow Apple into the $3 trillion club early this year.

“When we started, we thought it would be a successful company that would go forever. But you don’t really envision this,” said Steve Wozniak, an engineer who founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976. “At the time, the amount of memory that would hold one song cost $1 million.”

By just about any measure, a $3 trillion valuation is striking. It is worth more than the value of all of the world’s cryptocurrencies. It is roughly equal to the gross domestic product of Britain or India. And it is equivalent to about six JPMorgan Chases, the biggest American bank, or 30 General Electrics.

Apple now accounts for nearly 7% of the total value of the S&P 500, breaking IBM’s record of 6.4% in 1984, according to Howard Silverblatt, an analyst who tracks valuations at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Apple alone is about 3.3% of the value of all global stock markets, he said.

When Apple unveiled the iPhone in January 2007, the company was worth $73.4 billion. Fifteen years later, the iPhone, already one of history’s bestselling products, continues to post impressive growth. In the year ending in September, iPhone sales were $192 billion, up almost 40% from the year prior.

The pandemic also sent sales of other Apple devices soaring — as people used them more to work, study and socialize — and sent investors fleeing to the safety of Apple’s stock in an increasingly uncertain global economy.

Apple’s immense sales and wide profit…