October 2011
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Day October 27, 2011

The tipping hand of production: How Apple foreshadows iOS volumes

Prior to the third quarter earnings report I discussed a part of Apple’s balance sheet related to tangible assets (Plant, Property and Equipment). In a series of three posts I covered the Land and Buildings (data centers and campuses), Leasehold Improvements (store investments) and Machinery, equipment (tooling and factory equipment as well as servers.)

The data shows that there is a consistent pattern of investment in pursuit of strategic goals: extending reach into distribution through stores, extending services through cloud infrastructure spending, and extending control over the supply chain. One story that still remains largely untold is how much does Apple know in advance what it will spend.

In other words, can we tell if Apple can anticipate demand and does it plan its expansion well in advance?

For an answer, the 10 K report comes in handy. Published only once a year, this document shows some data that is not present in any other public release. For example, Apple makes forecasts for capital spending.

But first, an update.