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All the recent buzz about high tech giant Apple – its blockbuster recent quarterly results, its new record market capitalization, its solar energy plans – got me to thinking:  Apple users often are compared to followers of religions.  If these devotees comprised an actual religion, how would they stack up to the believers in the world’s other major faiths?

The answer – as best as can be determined – incredibly well.  In fact, if Apple was a religion, it would be the world’s third largest faith.  Counting unaffiliated people, it would rank fourth.

My source for the religious breakdown of the world’s population and that world population itself is the respected Pew Research Center.  My source for the number of Apple “worshippers” worldwide is the also-respected tech website cnet.com.  The data come from slightly different years (2010 for the religious populations and a 2013 projection for Apple users), but that’s unlikely to affect the broad conclusions.  If anything, Apple’s latest financials indicate its recent growth has beaten that forecast.  Do some simple division, and here’s what you get:

Christianity:       2.174 billion (of the world’s 6.900 billion total population)

Islam:                1.601 billion

Unaffiliated:        1.125 billion

Apple-ism:            600 million

Buddhism:            490 million

Continuing along these lines, would Apple co-founder Steve Jobs be The Prophet?  Would current CEO Tim Cook be the Pope?

But before we get too carried away, let’s remember that reports of a dark side to Apple continue coming out – regarding the exploitative pay and related labor practices of its subcontractors, mainly in China, which the company has promised to monitor and eliminate.

Standard disclaimer:  I am neither long nor short Apple investment-wise, and have no plan to start a position.