Apple reported its fiscal third-quarter earnings recently, and to say the company did well would be a gross understatement.

Earnings were very strong, which was surprising because there was speculation that consumers were holding out for the release of the iPhone 8 (I was) with all the rumored changes -- including a new charger and a number of other updated features. Instead, Apple reportedly sold 41 million iPhones during the past quarter, making the total number of iPhones sold to date more than 1.2 billion.

The report also indicated that Apple sold 11.42 million iPads (versus analysts' estimates of 9.03 million) and 4.29 million Mac computers. And while sales of other accessories were not itemized, Apple Watch sales were up 50 percent, CEO Tim Cook told investors.

The earnings news -- during what most experts see as a "boring" quarter -- sent shares soaring more than 5 percent above $159 (as of this writing), setting a record for the stock and valuing the company at more than $775 billion -- the most valuable company on the planet.

While these results are impressive, perhaps the most impressive statistic to come from Apple was its cash balance -- a staggering $261.5 billion.

That is billion with a b.

If you're like me, it's easy to get distracted by "millions" and "billions" getting thrown around during an earnings report. These numbers, however, are typically referring to revenue or earnings or market cap.

In this case, we are talking cash, meaning if Apple were to go to an ATM to check its balance, the receipt would say "$261,500,000,000.00."

Admittedly, this could be difficult for some to comprehend, so it might help to add a little perspective to just what you could do with $261 billion.

  • If you decide to withdrawal the money from the ATM, with the maximum daily limit of $300, it would take you 2.4 million years to withdrawal it all.
  • If you could withdrawal it all, there would not be enough U.S. 20-dollar bills in circulation to cover your balance.
  • If you spent $1 million every single day, it would take you 716 years to spend it all. Conversely, if you only lived another 50 years, you would need to spend $14.3 million every single day to die with a zero balance.
  • If you had all of the cash in $100 bills, it would take 2,560 crates or pallets, about three feet tall, to store it all.
  • If Apple's cash balance were a measure of gross domestic product (GPD), it would be the 42nd largest country in the world, ahead of Venezuela, Pakistan, Finland, Greece, Portugal, and New Zealand.
  • You could buy every single NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL team.
  • If you distributed the cash to each person on the planet, everyone would receive $35, which is the equivalent of an eight-hour workday's pay in Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Costa Rica, Slovak Republic, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Russian Federation, and Mexico.
  • If you just gave the cash to each person in the U.S., everyone would receive $800.
  • If you stacked the money in U.S. one-dollar bills, it would be about 17,300 miles tall, or 70 times higher than the orbiting International Space Station.
  • If you lined up the money in U.S. one-dollar bills, it would be 24.8 million miles long, or go around the earth roughly 995 times.
  • If you laid out the money in U.S. one-dollar bills as a carpet, it would cover 1,024 square miles, an area roughly the size of Rhode Island.
  • If you stacked the money in U.S. pennies, it would go 25 million miles into space, almost three-quarters of the distance to Mars, and weigh 144 billion tons.

Published on: Aug 2, 2017
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