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Take out its cash in dollar bills and stack it into space
Apple could reach space without a shuttle or a rocket—it just needs a very, very large ATM.
A one dollar bill has the dimensions of about 2.61 inches wide and 6.14 inches long, but only 0.0043 inches thick. Stack up $137.1 billion in dollar bills and that's 589.53 million inches, or 14,974 kilometers. (For imperial fans, that's 9,304.4 miles.)
The distance between Earth and the Moon varies from 221,000 miles to 252,000 miles—so the dollar bill pile won't quite reach the Moon, but it will pass the International Space Station's orbiting height of about 230 miles (370km) about forty-times over.
It's a moot point anyway; there aren't (and never has been, nor ever will be) 137.1 billion single dollar bills in circulation.
Pay tuition for one-quarter of all U.S. students
Slam the two figures together and Apple could, even with its huge pile of cash, still fall short of paying off every U.S. college student's debts. However, the technology giant could pay off around $6,347, or roughly 24 percent, of each student's debt.
Or, if the company could pick and choose, such as all those who received a high grade (GPA), Apple could pay off the college debt of about one-quarter of the total U.S. college population.
Buy and build an entire city
The median U.S. house price is about $195,050, based on figures from the Northeast, the Midwest, the South and the West coast. Of course, some areas of the country are far higher and far lower than other places, but this—after all—is just a bit of fun.
Take the median U.S. house price and build as many houses with Apple's cash pile of $137.1 billion, and you can buy 7,028 702,896 houses. Because building a house costs far less than, the number of houses will likely be significantly higher, by at least 20 percent by rough calculations. That could bump the figure up to 8,433 843,475 homes.
After many hours researching this, there's no one definition of how large a town or city should be, but around 10,000 people seems to be the rough benchmark. Compared to New York City or San Francisco, the numbers fall far below their many millions, but it's still wouldn't be a bad effort by Apple if it decided to go down this route.
Correction: One reader points out that indeed it's 702,896 houses, rather than a 'meager' 7,028. Indeed, Apple could built an entire 'city', rather than just a 'town.'