Apple sales are growing faster than its operating expenses. Although all eyes are on gross margin, the company continues to run a tight ship in fixed costs (costs which do not vary with the output).
In terms of R&D, spending has dropped to 2.4% of sales, a level seen only once since 2005. Sales, General and Administrative costs also dropped to 7.7% of sales, a new record low.
The total operating expenses as a percent of sales stands at 10.2%. The following chart shows the trend.
Keep in mind that, in many ways, the leadership of Apple in both marketing and product development means are doing the job for all the knockoffs, copycats and ripoff artists in the industry. Including that fat chunk of the industry means that those few engineers and designers and marketers accomplish a feat of efficiency that boggles the mind. Thanks, I say.