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Tim Cook's Midas Touch And Apple’s Trillion Dollar Journey

The new iPhones and the next iteration of the Apple Watch arrive in the trillion-dollar era for Apple.

Vishal Mathur | News18.com@vishalmathur85

Updated:September 10, 2018, 11:27 AM IST
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Tim Cook's Midas Touch And Apple’s Trillion Dollar Journey
The new iPhones and the next iteration of the Apple Watch arrive in the trillion-dollar era for Apple.
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When Timothy Donald Cook took over as chief executive officer at Apple Inc. in 2011, following the passing of the legendary co-founder Steve Jobs, no one was quite sure where Apple would be headed. At least for the near future. A collective sense of trepidation about whether Cook would be able to take forward the legacy that Jobs was leaving behind, was all too apparent. At the time, Apple had a healthy $350 billion stock market valuation, and many analysts wondered if Cook would be able to find another product which could be as critical to the company’s line-up as the iPhone and the iPad. Trillion dollar valuations weren’t even featured in the wildest dreams.

Here and now, as we head into the 2018 edition of the Apple Special Event and get ready for the inevitable launch of the next generation of iPhones, Apple is the only trillion dollar company in the world at the moment. Yes, Amazon briefly got there, but Apple reached that mark, crossed it, and has stayed there since. There is no looking back. Safe to say, Tim Cook’s Apple is doing just fine.

It is also not one of those times when someone gets lucky. Along the way, Tim Cook’s Apple has also created new tech, which have in turn created new gadget categories we probably wouldn’t have imagined a few years ago.

Let us take the example of the AirPods. These completely wireless earphones were unveiled with the Apple iPhone 7 back in 2016. Incidentally, that was the year when the iPhone decided it was finally time to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack. The AirPods have since created and successfully led a new music accessories category which they created. As things stand, the likes of Bose, Sony and well-funded start-ups such as Bragi are still trying to emulate the slick experience, performance and the desirability of the AirPods. If we are to go by renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s estimates, Apple is expected to ship as many as 28 million AirPods by the end of this year, which is double the number from 2017. Then there is the small matter of the expected AirPods update, and the wraps could be taken off at the Apple Special Event later this week.

Then there is the Apple Watch. The smartwatch that has hit the fitness band ecosystem badly, and also made the traditional watch makers sit up and be amazed. “Our wearables revenue exceeded $10 billion over the last four quarters, a truly remarkable accomplishment for a set of products that has only been in the market for a few years. Apple Watch delivered record June quarter performance with growth in the mid-40% range,” said Tim Cook during the Apple quarterly earnings call in August. Earlier this year, numbers released by research firms Canalys and IDC suggested that the Watch has consistently outsold watches made by Rolex, Omega and the likes.

At the same point in time last year, the Apple Watch had already clocked a market share of 49.6% in the smartwatch space, with Samsung sitting in a very distant second place garnering 11% market share at that time. The Watch has gone from strength to strength since.

The 'Other' product category, which Apple combines the Watch, AirPods and various other devices into, also set a new record for the June quarter clocking revenue of over $3.7 billion. This was an increase of 37% from the same quarter in 2017.

Apple, as per the latest numbers, sold 41.3 million iPhones in the quarter ending June. This is more than the 41.03 million iPhones sold in the same quarter in 2017. What is easy to forget but shouldn’t be forgotten is that the iPhones sold in the Q3 2018—the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 8—were significantly more expensive, with the average iPhone selling price in the quarter pegged at $724 than last year. The same quarter in 2017 had the iPhones pegged at an average selling price of $606. Much of it is because of the higher price tag of the iPhone X, but considering how it has been Apple’s best-selling iPhone in the quarters since its launch, the price tag hasn’t really put off buyers.

Generally, the June quarter is the slowest for Apple in the entire year, in terms of sales. The potential buyers as well as anyone looking to upgrade their existing iPhones, tend to wait for the September announcements to see what new Apple has in store.

The new iPhone line-up is on its way, as it is every year. There will perhaps be a new design theme across the entire line-up now, inspired by the iPhone X. There will be the successor to the iPhone X, a phone that is larger than the iPhone X and a lower priced but still a large screen phone that will have an LCD display instead.

We add in the expected updates to the iPad Pro line-up, the much-awaited refresh of the MacBook Air and maybe even a reboot for the Mac Mini compact desktop, and the cocktail is pretty much ready. What about the successor to the AirPods? They’ll be received well. Then there is the smart home speaker category which Apple might want to take second poke at it. All these will be the proverbial cherries on the cake, which already is poised to be delicious.

Also read: The Mac Mini Refresh is Quite Important For Apple, And Should be Priority


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