Can The Apple (AAPL) iPod Replace Dollar As Global Currency Measure?

Leave it to the Australians. According to Reuters, “one of Australia’s biggest banks, the Commonwealth Bank, has used the latest version of Apple’s (AAPL) music player — the slimline 4GB Nano — to compare global currencies and purchasing power in 55 countries.”

Brazilians pay the most for an iPod, spending $369.61 in US dollar equivalents. Hong Kong was the cheapest place to buy a Nano at $148.12, while the United States was second cheapest at $149

Apple has now sold about 120 million iPods around the world, and that figure grows by about 10 million a quarter. It is actually a good proxy for purchasing power and the value of local currencies against the dollar.

But, whether economists us an iPod or a bottle of Coke, the iPod index speaks volumes about Apple’s ability to make a fairly ordinary product–a music player–into a global brand, a brand that has meaning in almost every language.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.