How Apple Makes Money

Apple's biggest revenue sources are the iPhone and the Americas

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is a global technology company that designs, manufactures, and sells smartphones, personal computers, tablets, wearables, and accessories. Some of its main products include the iPhone, the Mac line of personal computers and laptops, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. The company also has a fast-growing services business that includes its iCloud cloud service, and its digital content streaming services such as Apple Music and Apple TV+, the latter launched in November 2019.

Apple faces numerous competitors including smartphone manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930) and LG Electronics Inc. (066570), computer manufacturers Lenovo Group Ltd. (0992) and Dell Technologies Inc. (DELL), streaming-content providers Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT) and Netflix Inc. (NFLX), and other technology companies like Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).

Key Takeaways

  • Apple sells smartphones, personal computers, tablets, wearables and accessories, and services.
  • iPhones are Apple's biggest source of revenue by product, and the Americas is the largest revenue generator among its geographic regions.
  • Apple's services business generates the highest gross margins.
  • Apple recently acquired classical music streaming service Primephonic.
  • Apple announced changes to its ecosystem that will allow developers to offer payment options to users of their apps outside of the App Store.

Apple’s Financials

Apple posted net income of $21.7 billion on revenue of $81.4 billion in Q3 of its 2021 fiscal year (FY), the three-month period that ended June 26, 2021. Apple refers to revenue as net sales in its financial reports. Both net income and revenue rose compared to the year-ago quarter. Net income grew 93.2% as revenue climbed 36.4%.

Both Apple's Products and Services businesses grew during the quarter. Revenue for the Products business rose 37.4% compared to the year-ago quarter, comprising about 79% of Apple's total revenue. Among its products, iPhones comprised 49% of total revenue; Macs (10%); iPads (9%); and Wearables, Home and Accessories (11%). Services revenue grew 32.9% compared to the same quarter a year ago, comprising 21% of Apple's total revenue.

Apple has mounted a major corporate strategy to reduce its dependence on lower-margin hardware products, which face slowing growth, while accelerating the growth of its Services business, which has higher margins and a more predictable, recurring revenue stream. Apple has introduced many new services in recent years, including Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Card. The company now offers many of its services in one simple plan called Apple One.

The high margins in Apple's Services business have continued to rise. Gross margin as a percentage of sales was 69.8% in Q3 FY 2021. Its annual gross margin in FY 2020 was 66.0% compared to 63.7% in FY 2019 and 60.8% in FY 2018. Gross margin as a percentage of sales for Products was 36.0% in Q3 FY 2021. It was 31.5% in FY 2020, down from 32.2% in FY 2019 and from 34.4% in FY 2018.

Apple’s Business Segments

Apple provides a breakdown of revenue and operating income for the following geographical segments: Americas; Europe; Greater China; Japan; and the Rest of Asia Pacific.

While the U.S. is still the dominant market, Asia is rapidly catching up. In Q3 FY 2021, markets in China, Japan, and Asia Pacific contributed 36% of operating income and 33% of revenue. That makes the Asia region dramatically more important than Europe to Apple for growth and profits.

Americas

The Americas segment includes both North and South America. Revenue grew 32.8% in Q3 FY 2021 to $35.9 billion, comprising about 44% of Apple's total revenue. Operating income grew 62.0% to $12.9 billion, comprising about 41% of the operating income for all segments.

Europe

The Europe segment includes European countries, as well as India, the Middle East, and Africa. Revenue grew 33.7% in Q3 FY 2021 to $18.9 billion, comprising about 23% of Apple's total revenue. Operating income grew 60% to $7.1 billion, comprising about 23% of combined operating income for all segments.

Greater China

The Greater China segment includes mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Revenue rose 58.2% in Q3 FY 2021 to $14.8 billion, comprising about 18% of Apple's total revenue. Operating income rose 84.6% to $6.3 billion, comprising about 20% of the combined operating income for all segments.

Japan

Revenue for the segment rose 30.2% in Q3 FY 2021 to $6.5 billion, comprising about 8% of Apple's total revenue. Operating income rose 43.4% to $3.0 billion, comprising about 10% of the combined operating income for all segments.

Rest of Asia Pacific

The Rest of the Asia Pacific segment includes Australia and those Asian countries not included in the company's other reportable geographic segments. Revenue for the segment grew 28.5% in Q3 FY 2021 to $5.4 billion, comprising about 7% of Apple's total revenue. Operating income grew 54.0% to $2.1 billion, comprising about 7% of the combined operating income for all segments.

A note to readers that the combined operating income used in the segment breakdowns above and in the pie charts was $31.5 billion in Q3 FY 2021. To arrive at Apple's lower, reported consolidated operating income of $24.1 billion for the quarter, Apple makes deductions for research and development expenses and other corporate expenses.

Apple's Recent Developments

On Aug. 30, 2021, Apple announced that it has acquired Primephonic, a classical music streaming service. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

On Aug. 26, 2021, Apple announced that developers will be able to share purchase options with users of their apps outside of Apple's ecosystem. The change, which comes as part of a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit, will make it easier for Apple's customers to use forms of payment other than the App Store.

How Apple Reports Diversity and Inclusiveness

As part of our effort to improve the awareness of the importance of diversity in companies, we offer investors a glimpse into the transparency of Apple and its commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and social responsibility. We examined the data Apple releases to show you how it reports the diversity of its board and workforce to help readers make educated purchasing and investing decisions.

Below is a table of potential diversity measurements. It shows whether Apple discloses its data about the diversity of its board of directors, C-Suite, general management, and employees overall, as is marked with a ✔. It also shows whether Apple breaks down those reports to reveal the diversity of itself by race, gender, ability, veteran status, and membership in the LGBTQ+ community.

Apple Diversity & Inclusiveness Reporting
  Race Gender Ability Veteran Status Sexual Orientation
Board of Directors          
C-Suite          
General Management ✔ (U.S. Only)      
Employees ✔ (U.S. Only)      

Article Sources

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