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At the end of Apple's launch event for the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, Tim Cook and U2's Bono acted out a really fantastic school play. It was pretty awkward and kind of endearing. Then U2 dropped Songs of Innocence, their first album since 2009. For free. To 500 million iTunes users. And all across the land, dads U2 fans rejoiced.

It's been reported that Apple spent $100 million to market and distribute that album. That's about $99,999,998 more dollars than I would pay for a U2 album. That seems like a lot of money, and it is for us mere mortals, but for Apple, that's chump change.

Let's take a look at how long it took Apple to earn that cash. In the fiscal third quarter of this year, Apple's quarterly revenue was $37.4 billion and net profit was $7.7 billion. That quarter lasts from March 29 to June 28 — 91 days. That's $84,615,384.62 a day in net profit. With 24 hours in a day, we are now at $3,525,641.03 an hour. (That's $58,760.68 a minute, but who's counting?)

So, Apple made the money to pay for U2's album in about 28 hours. Well, exactly 28.36 hours. 28 hours, 21 minutes and 49 seconds.

And that is why their Watch starts at $349. Maybe next time they'll spring for a Beyoncé album.

Bonus math: the album is 48 minutes and 11 seconds long. That means you can listen to it 35.315 times in the 28.36 hours it took Apple to make the money they paid for it. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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