A Decade of Apple Visualized

Anyone who regularly follows my Foolish articles will see that there are two things I'm rather fond of: Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and charts.

I've compiled more than 10 years of operating data on the Mac maker, starting with the first quarter of fiscal 2002, the fiscal quarter when the iPod was launched -- and I'm happy to share my findings with you, my Foolish reader. Let's take an illustrative trip down memory lane and see the inner workings of Apple's meteoric rise to become the largest company in the world over the past decade.

Back to the Mac
Macs are no longer the show stealer, but they were once the core of Apple's business, so they're as good a place to start as any.

Sources: SEC filings, earnings press releases, Apple investor relations.

You can see here that as Apple's Mac business grows in terms of unit sales and revenue, that growth is being driven more by laptops than by traditional desktops. There's no doubt that Macs have exhibited healthy growth overall over the past decade, but as you'll soon see, it's nothing compared with the main course of iDevices.

The main event
I'll present these a little differently, starting with the unit-sales data for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. If you thought the iPod was a massive success -- and it was -- you'll see just how much more promising Apple's newest product families are.

Sources: SEC filings, earnings press releases, Apple investor relations.

This chart is interesting in a couple ways. It shows that the obvious iPod cannibalization set in shortly after the iPhone's introduction as sales pick up.

You can also see how long it took for iPod adoption to really accelerate; it took three years to break the 5 million unit quarterly-sales threshold. It took the iPhone only six quarters to break the same level, the iPad just three. Indeed, this is what happens when I scoot each of those lines over to the same starting point.

Sources: SEC filings, earnings press releases, Apple investor relations.

You can see here just how much faster iPhone and iPad adoption has been compared with the hugely successful iPod, with the most recent product family -- the iPad -- seeing the fastest start out of the gate. The iPhone and iPad also appear relatively insulated from seasonal effects in their upward trajectories, while the iPod's jagged winter spikes -- not the ones you put on your tires for snow driving -- are readily apparent.

A tale of three ASPs
Importantly, iPhones and iPads also seem more resilient to declines in average selling prices, or ASPs.

Sources: SEC filings, earnings press releases, Apple investor relations.

The iPhone ASP was erratic in the beginning as Apple wasn't sure how to price the new device. It launched for $499 / $599 for 4 GB / 8 GB models exclusively on AT&T (NYSE: T  ) . Just two months later, the price dropped by $200, ridiculing early adopters and prompting enough backlash for Steve Jobs to pen an open letter, offering to split the difference with a $100 store credit as consolation.

The second iteration, the iPhone 3G -- which was still exclusive to Ma Bell -- adopted the common carrier subsidy pricing model, helping to boost and stabilize ASPs as the iPhone fell in line with the rest of the smartphone industry. In the coming years, consumer demand would force carrier demand, and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) now offer the device.

Verizon recently took a 5% sequential hit on margins, in large part because of the iPhone, while Sprint is committing to $15.5 billion in iPhone purchases over the next few years.

So not only are the iPhone and iPad off to a stronger start, but their revenue generation capabilities are also more potent and promising than the iPod. It's a good thing Apple won't need to worry about what it would be like without them.

Notable mentions
In addition to these charts, here are some extra interesting tidbits from the data.

Product Familiy

Cumulative Units Sold

Cumulative Revenue

Cumulative ASP

Macs 82 million $112 billion $1,366
iPod 336.6 million $57.8 billion $172
iPhone 183.1 million $117.1 billion $639
iPad 55.3 million $34.5 billion $623

Sources: SEC filings, earnings press releases, Apple investor relations. Cumulative time frame spans from Q1 '02 to Q1 '12.

Since the time frame in question spans the entire existence of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, these figures represent lifetime digits for those product families, while Macs obviously go way back. In seven quarters, the iPad has generated 60% of the revenue that the iPod has in more than 10 years.

I'll finish with one last chart of good old revenue, broken down by segment with notable launches over the years.

Sources: SEC filings, earnings press releases, Apple investor relations. Product images from

It's been quite a decade for shareholders, as last quarter's revenue was more than 33 times as large as the same quarter 10 years ago. If the next decade can be even half as good under CEO Tim Cook, then investors have a lot to look forward to, including a trillion-dollar market cap.

Apple's market cap isn't the only thing that will reach a trillion; the mobile revolution will, too. Apple is just one way to capitalize on the rise of smartphones and tablets, and The Motley Fool has uncovered another one that's powering the gadgets from the inside. Get the free report now.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of AT&T, Apple, and Verizon Communications, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (79)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2012, at 12:49 PM, funspirit wrote:

    Apple is kicking butt continually-- personally I am an Apple bull. Because of the PRODUCTS!

    With Apple's recent drop, here is a column exploring the bull/bear scenario, with Doug Kass presenting the bear side of the coin after his successful short

    hope this serves as good analysis. cheers,

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2012, at 5:43 PM, moneymaster7 wrote:

    Great article on Apple. They continue to push innovation and be the standard of their industry. Go apple!

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2012, at 5:52 PM, dlchase24 wrote:

    It's worth noting that iTunes was not originally available on Windows (October 03 I think?) and that the release of iTunes for Windows coincides with more significant iPod sales.

    Had Apple not made that shift this may be a much different story.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2012, at 6:00 PM, cweb wrote:

    Dish or Google will buy Sprint.

    Stock will go over $10. This is the cheapest tech stock for potential upside.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2012, at 9:45 PM, mrmok wrote:

    Today offers a rare break in the running of the Apple Bulls to buy some on the cheap!

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2012, at 12:47 AM, demodave wrote:

    This is need a nicely visualized data set. Credit where credit is due: nice work, Evan!

    In spite of the runoff, I think Apple has a very positive forward-going situation. Lots of room to grow. I'm gonna keep on hanging' on.

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2012, at 1:47 PM, XMFStockgor wrote:

    This has been a great read, and I loved the charts that were presented. Thanks for taking the time to compile all of this.

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