The Apple Juggernaut: 10 Jaw-Dropping Numbers

As we noted yesterday, it’s truly a head-scratcher when a company whose annual revenue by year-end will be approaching $200 billion is tut-tutted for quarterly growth of “only” 23%.

Sure, it’s arguable that Apple’s become its own worst enemy in this regard by so consistently blowing past already-steep expectations. And yes, past performance is no guarantee of future success.

But beyond the hand-wringing of year-over-year quarterly revenue growth of “only” 23%, some powerful numbers were disclosed during this week’s quarterly earnings call that offer profound lessons to business leaders in all industries.

I’ve pulled out 10 such examples for your consideration, and they touch on everything from vertical integration, to the blurring lines between products and services and customer experiences, to the sheer power of very large numbers, to the indispensable value of a big and devoted partner ecosystem.

1) iTunes Store: The Power of Intimate Customer Engagement. Apple’s iTunes Store generated quarterly revenue of more than $1.8 billion, said CFO Peter Oppenheimer on the earnings call. More than 20 million songs are available on iTunes. And while it might seem that iTunes has been around forever, it’s important to remember that it was a revolutionary concept only a handful of years ago, with entrenched and fatefully fossilized players vowing that it would never succeed. Apple ignored the sclerotic status quo and instead focused on creating and delivering superior value and experiences to consumers.

2) iTunes U.: Torpedoing Stale, Low-Value Business Models. Early this year, Apple extended the iTunes model into the glacial-paced education market with iTunes U., and since its January launch the new app has generated 40 million downloads. Apple says more than  700 new K-12 schools and districts and over 125 colleges and universities have enrolled in the iTunes U program, while over 750 new courses have been published.

3) iPad: Creative Destruction of the PC Industry. Apple says it sold 17 million iPads in the June quarter, up 84% over the 9.2 million sold a year earlier. By focusing not on price-based competition but rather on delivering exceptional quality made possible by engineering hardware and software together, Apple boosted iPad revenue for the quarter by 52% to $9.2 billion.

4) App Stores: Exploiting an Awesome Ecosystem. Apple now offers App Stores in 155 countries, with 650,000 apps available—including more than 225,000 apps specifically for the iPad. As it does each quarter, Apple gave thanks to its large and almost fanatical developer community, saying, “We’re extremely pleased to report that we have surpassed $5.5 billion in payment to developers.”

5) Apple Retail Stores: Accelerating Brands and Revenues. Quietly becoming one of the world’s most-successful retail chains, the Apple stores reported revenue of $4.1 billion, up 17%. Average revenue per store reached $11.1 million for the quarter, and while that’s hugely impressive, consider the impact on the Apple brand of 83 million people visiting Apple stores during the quarter in its roughly 365 stores worldwide. As Apple said, “That translates to an average of 17,000 visitors per store per week.”

6) 410 Million iOS Devices: The Power of Very Large Numbers. In the quarter, Apple sold a total of 45 million iOS devices—iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch—pushing its cumulative unit sales of iOS devices to 410 million.

7) $117.2 Billion in Cash: The Power of Incredibly Large Numbers. From the previous quarter ended March 31, Apple’s cash position grew by about $7 billion, with $81 billion of that held outside the U.S. to avoid uncompetitive tax rates. Cash flow from operations was $10.2 billion, so the company clearly has the assets to apply staggering financial muscle to any initiative it should choose to undertake.

8) iPads in Education: Building Life-Long Customers. The Mansfield, Texas, school district has purchased 11,000 iPads and intends to equip every student and every teacher with the tablet. And not just for business as usual: a primary objective, Apple said, is to give Mansfield the chance to pursue truly innovative approaches in learning and education: “Some teachers will use a flipped classroom concept, putting their lessons and resources online where students can access them anytime with their iPads,” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said during the earnings call. “As a result, students take responsibility for their own learning and teachers are able to increase their interactions and personalize content time.”

9) iPhone in the Enterprise: The New Corporate Standard? In the June quarter, Apple sold a total of 26 million iPhones, up 28% from the year-earlier quarter. Oppenheimer said the rapid growth of corporate purchases of the iPhone might mean its becoming a standard in the business world: “Enterprises across the globe continue to choose iPhone as the standard device for their employees,” he said. “We estimate that the number of iPhones in the Fortune 500 has more than doubled in the past year.” PS: worldwide sales of iPhones and headsets hit $16.2 billion for the quarter—so even without taking into account seasonal growth of any kind, that gives Apple an annualized iPhone business of $65 billion!

10) iPod: Still Kicking After All These Years. “iPod share of the U.S. market for MP3 players remained at over 70% based on the latest monthly data published by NPD, and iPod continues to be the top-selling MP3 player in most countries we track based on the latest data,” Oppenheimer said.

So much for all the unsolicited advice Apple got when it introduced the iPhone and various geniuses said the iPhone’s music-playing capabilities would kill the iPod. The lesson? Do what Apple does, and ignore conventional wisdom.

Bob Evans is senior vice-president, communications, at Oracle.


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