How many iOS devices did/will Apple ship?

Last August I wrote:

It’s therefore reasonable to assume that calendar 2014 will see at least 250 million iOS devices sold

The actual figure was 259.5 million.

Looking ahead, the capital spending pattern so far shows a distinct rise heading into Q1.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 7.33.14 PM

This could be partly due to the new campus, the new Watch production ramp and perhaps new iPad models.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 7.33.27 PMNevertheless, I think it’s safe to predict that the company is on track to ship 310 to 320 million iOS devices in 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 7.35.30 PM


  • Joel Teitelbaum

    Horace, are you counting Watch as an “iOS device”?

    • Horace Dediu

      Not as such. The model is calibrated to measure iOS devices as currently defined (iPad, iPod, iPhone). The Apple Watch and Apple TV products are currently categorized as Other products by Apple and I’m inclined to keep them as a separate accessory type product.

  • Walt French

    “This could be partly due to the new campus, the new Watch production ramp and perhaps new iPad models.”

    The new campus must be several months away from occupancy, and while it may have specialized testing, design and prototyping machinery, it seems odd that there’d be a spike for it in the prior two quarters.

    Likewise, adding those two quarters’ differences from prior-year figures, there’s about $2 billion of machinery & equipment that’d seem quite a bit to do for perhaps 20 million watches at $500 ($10 billion).

    Finally, the iPad would seem to be among the most stable of Apple’s designs; it’s hard for me to see how you’d need several hundred million dollars for a possible bigger shell & bigger screen, among the most-rumored features.

    So I’m going to guess there’s another billion somewhere else. My best wild guess is in Austin TX: either at Samsung’s 14nm “S2” fab there (because the A9 is extensively rumored to be built by Samsung and that appears to be their only facility at that geometry) or perhaps extensive build-out of Apple’s facility there, which in my mind is grossly underutilized in cranking out a relatively small number of MacPros.

    (All these skeptical remarks have to be seen in light of my perennial optimism that there’s a pony under all that. That’s just me.)

    • Christian Peel

      If the billion is for Samsung’s S2 fab, that could correlate with iOS units, but it’s not obvious to me that extensive build-out of Apple’s facility in Austin would correlate the same way.

      Do you agree with Horace’s projection of iOS units?

      • Walt French

        More accurately, I have no basis to doubt his carefully-considered work. Mine is the role of the gadfly.

        I don’t know what percentage of Macs are the Pros, but it must be relatively tiny. I think that Pros would’ve been a great first product line — relatively small volume, no urgency to start up — but eventually too small a product to justify a factory.

        Maybe it’ll be re-purposed for AppleTV 2, or used for Apple Watch, but as I imply, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for something else.

    • KirkBurgess

      What about the “global command” data centre in Mesa?

      • Walt French

        Yes, interesting.

        I missed the WSJ story with Apple’s / Arizona’s announcement but this AM I note that it calls for work to start next year. There could be something this year with Apple taking machinery onto its books as part of the GTAT deal, but these recent quarters’ M&E expenditures wouldn’t appear to be the new AZ data center.

  • Walt French

    Noting the chart above implies approximate correspondence for $10bil CapEx and 250mm iOS devices, or about $80 new CapEx for each iOS device sold in subsequent year. CapEx suggests a multi-year utilization, so a future iOS device might rely on as much as $200 (?) of machinery, etc.

    Presumably those investments are properly depreciated in computing profits.

    The Watch seems a LOT simpler than an iPhone or iPad, so either Apple is bringing in more component production in-house (unlikely?) or else the logic suggests the Watch is only a modest part of the $2 billion in new M&E.

    • simpler

      “The Watch seems a LOT simpler than an iPhone or iPad”

      I feel the opposite on this. Miniaturisation is expensive, the precision seems high, and machining on those bands probably takes a lot of time and equipment.

      • jameskatt

        It takes a single worker 9 hours to create the steel linked bracelet for the Apple watch. It is highly labor intensive to make the watch.

  • Jeff G

    Is it accurate that bout 3/4 of all iOS devices shipped have been during Tim Cook’s time as CEO? When I read something recently that pointed the math in this direction, it struck me as a real WOW!