The Revenue Table (imperial units edition)

Tim Cook famously said:

We can put all of our products on the table you’re sitting at. Those products together sell $40 billion per year. No other company can make that claim except perhaps an oil company.

For those of you laughing, that was three years ago. The revenues quadrupled since to a total of $170 for the last four quarters. But the more interesting thought is that the table has not gotten bigger. When Tim spoke the iPad had just been announced but was not yet for sale. So we can’t be sure if he thought it should be on the table or not, but it does not take up that much space.

It would be fun to actually lay out all the Apple products on a table to see how big it would be. The trouble is that there are many things Apple sells which take up no space at all. Things like iTunes content or services and AppleCare.

So rather than trying to imagine a table full of Apple products (some of which are non-phyisical) I thought a more fitting analogy would be to allocate the revenues from these products to a table and thinking about how much space relative to each other the products would take.

To make conversion easier, I picked a rather large table; 10 feet long, big enough to fit a small conference room. What would this table covered in product revenue look like?

My estimate is that it would look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 8-22-11.50.54 AM

I color coded the product lines as shown in the legend: Greens for iPhone, Browns for iPad, Blues for Mac, Yellow for iPod, Red/Purples for iTunes and Grey for Accessories.

At this categorization the table would allocate the following space to each category:

  • iPhone (Greens): 60 inches or about half the table.
    Product Inches
    iPhone 4 4.7
    iPhone 4S 11.4
    iPhone 5 44.5
  • iPad (Browns): 21 inches
    iPad 2 1.4
    iPad 4 9.6
    iPad mini 10.3
  • Macs (Blues): 5 inches
    Desktops 2.7
    Portable 13.6
  • iPod (yellows): 2.5 inches
    touch 1.8
    iPod 0.7
  • iTunes (reds), software and services: 15.5 inches
    music 4.1
    video 1.6
    Apps 5.6
    Books 0.8
    Pro SW 1.4
    OS X 0.5
    iWork 0.5
    iOS Apps 0.2
    Serv. 0.9
  • Accessories (Greys): 4 inches.
    Apple TV 0.3
    Acc 3.6

If this colorful table were used to support the actual products, where each product would have to fit within its color band, then the truth of one saying would become apparent: good things come in small packages.

  • Jean-Marc De Jonghe

    The numbers for iOS App seems so small…

    • graphex

      and Mac total is off.

      • By how much?

      • Rocket_man

        Macs total to 16.3″, not 5″.

      • El Aura

        In the bullet point list, the number behind: “Macs (Blues):” should be 16.3 inches not 5 inches.

  • Walt French

    Thanks for the fine visualization.

    I’m quite amazed that the iPod Classic — which I depend on for variety during my frequent flights, and which rumors have for years had Apple killing — and its ancient stablemates have a slice 3 times that of the Apple TV’s ¼”.

    I had been speculating that the Apple TV was to get a major revamp as a MacPro-inspired sleek gaming box as the company’s Next Big Thing, but on this chart it’d be hard for it to seem even interesting.

    • Peter Millard

      One explanation could be that the iPod classic has considerable appeal globally, whereas the Apple TV is still very much a US-centric product.

      Imagine an AppleTV without Netflix, Hulu or Amazon instant video. Where MLB.TV, WSJ Live and MBA are as meaningless as Quello and Crunchyroll; that’s the AppleTV that most of the world has access to.

      So I think the surprise isn’t that the iPod classic outsells ATV 7:3, it’s that ATV sells so many at all.

      • neutrino23

        Funny. I have an ATV3 and use it a lot but I never use any of those features even though I live in the US. We stream music with Airplay from the iPad or iPhone, display pictures with Airplay from iOS ad OS X devices, download movies and TV shows from iTunes and watch movie trailers. Airplay is great. We used to have to fuss with cables and connectors to show photos on the TV.

      • Space Gorilla

        We mostly use our Apple TV to play family games on the big screen with our iPads, as well as the kids showing us various creative things they do with their iPads (songs, illustration, videos, etc). Totally worth a hundred bucks for the convenience.

      • Peter Millard

        Not forgetting Airplay at all – it’s the ATVs saving grace where I live, in the UK. It’s often easier to search for a programme on the BBC iPlayer App and Airplay it to the TV than it is to search for the show on the iPlayer app on the TV, or through our Sky box.

        But it would be so much easier if the ATV had BBC iPlayer natively…

      • airplay

        Would it? I much prefer browsing through media on my phone to any TV interface, so AirPlay is much better than built in apps for me.

      • StevenDrost

        Your forgetting Airplay, which should not be discounted, but I agree with your assessment of the difference in value for users throughout the world

      • snoof

        VPN for US content is a workaround and airplay…

    • StevenDrost

      I retrospect, its not all that strange that the IPod classic sells better than the Apple TV. The concept of listening to music on a portable player has existed for a long time, compared to a streaming media player with the ability to wireless display content on a TV. Its a much more developed market.

    • orienteer

      Finally, we sing the praises of my beloved iPod Classic with that big, fat anachronistic hard drive that accommodates (almost) all my operas!

      • Walt French

        Multiple Falstaffs! Dunno how many Rings! Every Maria Callas Met Saturday Broadcast (one)! Two Nixon in Chinas! Almost everything ever recorded by Thelonious Monk! iTunes U videos! Over a hundred workout / jogging BPM-focused hours!

      • orienteer

        Or a single Parsifal conducted by Gatti!

      • MarkS2002

        I remember seeing one in San Fran in the 60s where length of performance was a critical talking point. It only took about 40 years to get over the experience and see it again.

      • obarthelemy

        I’m amazed at Apple’s ability to sell a $249 extra gizmo where a couple or three of $50 64GB µSD cards in a phone would be both cheaper and handier.

      • convenience

        Slightly cheaper and you get to juggle in and out SD cards and try to remember what music is on what. Very convenient.

      • obarthelemy

        I buy different brand/models (they don’t do colors yet), so they’re easy to track. I stash them between my phone and its silicone sleeve, so they’re always with me and don’t get lost.

        Beats an extra gizmo, most probably an extra charger and cable to go with it (or waking up in the middle of the night to rotate phone / ipod on one charger).

        it’s “only” $150 cheaper to get SDs, or… a whooping 2.5x more expensive to get an iPod.

        Sandisk are being evil about 128GB SDs though. Those don’t seem to be coming anytime soon.

      • convenience

        Kind of disgusting to me, personally.

      • Sounds like a pain juggling SD cards. Might explain why I see so many people that have Android phones but still use an iPod for music. I have never understood that.

  • Walt French

    Oh, and a thanks, too, for catering to us Imperialists. The second map at
    is a good reminder of how unusual we Americans can be.

    • obarthelemy

      Fun map, thanks !

  • davel

    This is a great chart.

  • Tatil_S

    What is the distinction between Apps and iOS Apps? Is the latter refer to Apple made iOS apps?

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  • Prasanna Kumar Ranjan

    Table of How Many Impacted vs Table of How Much Earned

    Dividing the Product Table based on revenue, for me, sounds more of a divisional organization. Though important, I don’t feel Apple’s Think Tank would prioritize based on how much is made on each product.

    A more liberal view would be how many people are impacted by their products. I always felt this being the reason Apple was able to resist going to market with iPhone for four years – to refine it as best as possible to create a profound impact on the lives of people using it.

    iPhone, being a phone, very much impacts lots more than Macs (or even iPads for now). That the iPhone also covers half of the Revenue Table as well, is a credit to Apple’s exemplary execution machine.

    From my perspective, this kinda explains the Apple’s “grand vision” of their next major impact product – TV. I feel they would have had baking the impact model for 4-5 years, and working out the icing of profitable execution of late.

    It would be interesting to see a similair Impact Table based on units sold of all Apple’s products.

    • Walt French

      @prasannakumarranjan:disqus wrote, “I always felt this being the reason Apple was able to resist going to market with iPhone for four years – to refine it as best as possible to create a profound impact on the lives of people using it.”

      I think if you consider people deprived of a not-quite-there-but-usable phone, and the choice for individuals to wait for Gen 2 (the 3G), which many people did, this logic won’t hold. Per Jobs’s dictum that Real Artists Ship, Apple was busting its butt to get the product produced; they were not waiting to tweak it. (And per an article in Wired, they were desperate about getting it to not crash long enough to demo it in the Big Announcement, 6 months before it shipped.)

      Regards counting units, I’ll also demur. I probably use my laptop 4X as many hours as my iPhone; it lasts longer, too, so the relative revenue is a good use of relative importance to me. That also measures what I have to sacrifice to use it the way I do, so by some Law of Choices, it’s more important.

      • StevenDrost

        I agree, Its not a matter of they could have built the phone earlier at a higher price or with a thicker form factor. The device could not have been built in 2003/2004, they needed Moore’s law to play out a little while longer. The genius of apple is being willing invest/risk all the time and money to bring a product to market years before more conservative companies would be able to. Which makes you rethink how much cash they should keep around.

  • obarthelemy

    Premium AppStore and AppStore subscriptions ?

    Regarding the iTunes store, I’m surprised by the dissonance between it and the rest of the Apple ecosystem:

    One of Tim Cook’s (and Apple’s) mantra seems to be: “the customer pays us to make choices on their behalf.” The Apple product lineup and the Apple Stores are pinnacles of that “curation”: good-looking, with a minimalist touch, and very little cruft…

    Opposite that, the iTunes Store (and the Android Playstore, but that’s not the point) are extremely messy bazaars, with hundreds of thousand of apps, most of them bad or useless (or both) by any standard.

    Wouldn’t it make sense for Apple to introduce an extra “premium” AppStore (or AppStore category), more intensely curated ? Rules might be
    – Only for Apps supporting to the full (optimized for) at least the latest devices/iOS, with a short grace period for new products
    – Only for category leaders (by sales on the bazaar and/or editorial decision)
    – Only for “serious” devs with a track record and verified legal+support+business contacts.
    – more extensive vetting = more expensive listing, which has the side effect of weeding out low-rent apps and devs
    – Maybe extra conditions on the app itself: non-trivial, original,
    – Maybe even ad-free (that means no free apps, not sure if that’s a good idea)
    – Maybe even a limit/ban on in-app purchases (that’s VERY against the latest trend, but probably desired by customers)
    – by design, limit the number of apps to a manageable amount, say 1,000 tops, probably a lot less. Do try to cover all categories.
    – I don’t think Apple’s cut should be higher than it already is, but it’s probably worth looking at.

    I think that’s in line with Apple’s original intention (the AppStore is an after thought, they originally intended to have very few native iOS apps, from selected partners, and the rest were supposed to be HTML apps), and would be a step up now that the total of apps has reached irrelevancy even as a war-cry.

    Another, distinct, idea is an Appstore subscription, offering access to all (if possible, if not, to a subset of) apps for a monthly/quarterly/yearly/…/… subscription), for the duration of the subscription (“forever” is probably a bad idea) . The goal here is to
    – increase revenues by rising the (very low) app spend per account, so the subscription should be significantly more expensive than current average app spend
    – increase ecosystem engagement by getting customers to gorge on “free” apps, and get locked-in by their favorites

    The issue is how to get devs to participate (probably a mix of force for free/cheap apps and cajoling for the rest), and how to handle high-price apps. The revenue should probably be calculated not only on downloads, but also on usage. Or maybe only on usage, YouTube-style.

    • reject

      I suspect that would be politically tricky, given that they already get heavily criticised for the handful of apps they reject from the store. How to “surface” high quality apps in the app store is an ongoing concern, though.

      • Kizedek

        Right, I think the issues will be taken care of when the searching is improved. Apparently Apple is making an effort in this area by buying that small company recently.

      • obarthelemy

        It is an issue indeed, and I for one am very leery of relinquishing control of what I can install and run on my computers (can you imagine the PC revolution with an MS AppStore ?).

        But, since Apple have taken that first step already, and most people don’t know better or care (probably both), I think they should take the second step and not only weed out particularly bad/evil software (or software they don’t like), but also promote good software.

      • reject

        “(can you imagine the PC revolution with an MS AppStore ?)”

        Sure, I don’t see why not, particularly.

        It’s a common misconception that you relinquish control of what you can install and run on your iOS devices. Just sign up for the developer program for $99 a year and you’re free to compile and install, via Xcode, a wide range of programs from source without jailbreaking.

      • obarthelemy

        It’s a common misconception that you just need $99 to install any app on an iOS device.

        You also need
        – a Mac,
        – the exact skills needed by the iOS dev environment,
        – plus the general skills to develop your own program: private apps are… private, and not on the general AppStore.

        So no, getting the app you want on your iOS device does *not* cost $99.

      • reject

        Sure, and during the “PC revolution” you often needed compilers costing hundreds of dollars to develop your own applications, try adjusting that to today’s dollar.

        The other points were just absurdities that apply to all platforms. Oh, if you want an app you can either write it yourself or get it from someone else, for money or otherwise? What a great insight.

      • obarthelemy

        I think you got whooshed by the insights.

        1- many dev environments have been free, always. Sure, there are commercial ones, but also choice of free ones.0 adjusted to whatever is still 0.

        2- iOS apps are either public and vetted, or private. There’s no public+unvetted category. A general-interest App that Apple don’t like (boobies !) can’t be distributed to the general public, or only via the expensive and tortuous process of having everyone open an Apple dev account, which is way too impractical.

        To take a realistic example from my own recent personal experience, you can’t have your nephew hack a quick and dirty app for you. He’s got to have a Mac, the Dev environment (no clue if it’s free or not), get a dev account… that’s expensive and lots of hoops to jump through. Contrast to what he did for me: install Eclipse (free) + the Android dev environment (free) on his PC (free), email me the .apk at the end of the week end.

    • Kizedek

      Good questions, but improvements in product search will probably take care of most of the issues — and Apple has just acquired a small company with some specialty in that area.

      Makes one wonder, though, if Google ought to introduce some kind of premium search for those who want less cruft and sponsored/promoted results to their searches. I am constantly surprised by the dissonance between all the junk that Google shows me and what I am actually looking for. Seems like some better curation of the internet is in order. Sounds like a paradox though: the junk paying to be found and the searchers paying not to find the junk. Happily, it will probably be resolved and improved upon by some other innovative kind of service that involves an intelligent assistant that will look to a number of different kinds of sources and services for me.

  • Mayson

    This could make an interesting time-based visuallization, if done quarter-by-quarter…