As the highly profitable iPhone makes up an increasingly larger proportion of Apple’s sales, the overall gross margin would be expected to grow.
Sure enough that’s what’s been happening.
The gross margin percent, which measures the direct or variable costs of production vs. price, shows a healthy rise in the last five years from slightly below 30% to around 40%. The Operating Margin, which also includes the overhead or fixed costs like R&D and SG&A, shows a similar rise, reaching about 30%.
Margin expansion while sales quadruple is a good indicator that a company is producing real value not just trading sales volume for profit.
The iPhone and iPad generated $15 billion of revenue last quarter. In addition, iPod touch generated about $2.3 billion, implying that iOS based devices were responsible for sales of $17.3 billion.
To put that in perspective I drew this chart which shows not only the sales by products but a rough representation of share of the two OS variants Apple uses to power its products.
Thanks to a reader for asking this question: “Wouldn’t it be more telling to look at the monthly rate of downloads / device at any given time?”
Yes it would.
Here’s what can be derived based on download rates and installed base of devices.
The iTunes App Store is about to reach 10 billion downloads. That makes this a good time to revisit app growth metrics and compare them with the other digital media store that we have data for: the iTunes Music Store.
First, the download totals as time series:
Thanks to David Chu for forwarding the data that made this possible and reader Narajanan for spotting the divergence in platform efficiency.
iOS and Android are both growing rapidly. According to Gartner, during the first three quarters of 2010, about 44 million iOS devices and 36 million Android devices were put into use. That’s 80 million devices. An amazing achievement for two platforms that did not exist 3 years earlier.
But obviously not all devices are used the same way. Devices which have unused capabilities limit network effects for a platform and for the category of product in general. Question is: how can we measure the “smartness” of a device; how much more likely is a device to be used as a mobile computer vs. being a regular phone?
The best proxy I can think of is a measurement of browsing use.
iOS has nearly three times more games than the previous twenty-five years of gaming combined.
via The staggering size of iOS’s game collection.
Most of the comments in the linked article complain that there is no filter for “quality” in the App Store. Contrasts nicely with the persistent criticism that Apple curates the App Store.
The Verizon distribution for iPad is an unexpected development. Coupled with distribution through AT&T stores, and rapidly expanding retail points of purchase, it seems that the iPad is destined to be the most widely distributed product Apple sells. The iPod never reached operator points of purchase and the Mac is orders of magnitude more constrained.
What seems to be happening is that Apple is pulling out all the stops and going for unrestricted iPad distribution. This may also foreshadow unrestricted iPhone distribution next year. It may also portend a CDMA iPad (or at least an LTE version) next year.
If it happens all estimates for next year need to be revised sharply. I had been expecting 100% growth for the iPad and 50% growth for the iPhone. These might need to be increased to 150% and 100%.
The consequence could be that total iOS devices sold could top 150 million for calendar 2011.
Of all the public statistics about platform share, Share of web use must be the most important measure for Google. The more browsing people do, the more searching they do and if Google search is most likely for a platform then the more income Google derives from that platform.
NetMarketshare.com has offered an insight into the split between Android and iOS as search platforms and it shows how iOS is still five times more likely to yield search revenue than Android. That multiple is likely to shrink as the gap narrows, but it still demonstrates the power of iOS to drive Google’s bottom line. It’s no wonder then why Google has renewed their default placement of Google search in mobile Safari (a guarantee they don’t seem to share with all Android licensees.)
But Android launched later than iPhone, so everyone should be asking how rapidly the share of
Thirty days after the launch of the iTunes App Store, Apple announced that 60 million apps were downloaded in the first month of operations generating sales of $30 million. “This thing’s going to crest a half a billion, soon,” Jobs said adding that it may be a “$1 billion marketplace at some point in time.”
Mr. Jobs was being modest.
To see how modest we have the following data:
If the current download rate is maintained (17 million apps/day) and if the pricing of $0.29/app is preserved, then $1.8 billion will have been spent on iOS apps this year.
With the rate of downloads increasing as steeply as it is, $2 billion in sales is not unlikely in the third year of the store. Twice what Jobs was predicting for “some point in time”.
The other line in the graph is the iTunes music download rate. I’ve written about it before and pointed out that the point of inflection in the download rate coincided with the increase in price for songs from $0.99 to $1.29. Not much more to say here except that the trend continues and music downloads continue to slow.
As far as Apple is concerned, the slowdown in iTMS is more than offset by the increase in iTAS. As far as the music industry is concerned, I don’t think CD sales are increasing. Does anyone know?