Apple made a ton of money last quarter. Not that it was ever really in doubt.
The iPhone giant reported second-quarter earnings on Tuesday, posting $US61 billion in revenue, partly powered by sales of 52.2 million iPhones.
The company also said that it was going to spend a record $US100 billion buying back its own stock, and raised its dividends.
But beyond the big money numbers, Apple executives always like to tuck a few new details into its earnings report and conference call.
Some of the revealing nuggets may even hint at what Apple’s next big thing.
Here’s what you may have missed in Apple’s earnings report:
Apple’s “wearables” business — which encompasses headphones and the Apple Watch — makes more money than Ebay or Netflix.
Although Apple doesn’t reveal Apple Watch sales, CEO Tim Cook has a penchant for describing the size of the business by comparing it to other, standalone corporations.
As of Tuesday, “wearables revenue” over the past four quarters is “the size of a Fortune 300 company,” Cook said.
Apple defines “wearables” as Apple Watch, plus AirPods, plus its Beats headphone subsidiary.
Alcoa, the 300th company on the Fortune 300, posted $US9.3 billion in revenue last year, according to Fortune. This means that wearables were at least a bigger business than that.
It also suggests that Apple makes more money on its headphones and watches than companies like Ebay, Netflix, and Salesforce made all last year.
Apple hasn’t decided yet where its new United States campus will be.
Earlier this year, in the wake of the passage of the big tax bill, Apple said it was building a new campus in the United States primarily for call-center workers. This new facility could create as many as 20,000 jobs, Apple has said.
Apple hasn’t chosen the site of this new campus yet, Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday.
“We’re narrowing the site selection for a new U.S. campus, and we look forward to sharing more information on that later this year,” Cook said.
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The HomePod speaker will get new features in a software update — and will go on sale in new countries.
Apple didn’t reveal HomePod sales on Tuesday, although its accessories revenue was up sharply. But Cook did talk about what’s coming next for the smart speaker.
“It’s currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and we’re looking forward to adding new features to HomePod and introducing it to more markets around the world soon,” said the chief executive.
Apple has $US145 billion in cash it can spend. And it plans to spend it.
Apple CFO Luca Maestri knows that Apple’s “cash and marketable” securities line item – a whopping $US267 billion – doesn’t describe all the money Apple could spend if it wanted to.
You have to subtract debt first.
“We ended the quarter with $US267.2 billion in cash plus marketable securities, and we had $US110 billion in term debt and $US12 billion in commercial paper outstanding for a net cash position of $US145 billion,” Maestri said.
The $US145 billion figure is still pretty staggering. Apple plans to wind that number down to nothing – mainly on share buybacks and dividends. ” As we said in February, our goal is to become approximately net cash neutral over time,” Maestri continued.
Apple has a whopping 270 million people subscribing to its services — over twice as many subscribers as Netflix.
Unlike Netflix or Amazon, Apple isn’t seen as a subscription-driven company.
But between iCloud storage, Apple Music, and other services, Apple certainly has a lot of people’s credit card information. Cook said that Apple had 270 million paid subscriptions in the last quarter, up 100 million subscriptions from the same time last year.
“Across all our services, paid subscriptions surpassed 270 million, up over 100 million from a year ago and up $US30 million in the last 90 days alone, contributing to the overall increase in services revenue,” Cook said.
Apple loves to talk about how these services help keep users loyal to the iPhone, since they’re deeply integrated with the device. Cook said that Apple’s services grew by almost a third and totaled $US9.2 billion lasts quarter.
Plus, Apple has plans for new services — perhaps a magazine or TV package.
Apple never comments on future products, but Cook teased new Apple services in response to an analyst question:
“The great thing about services is there are several services that make up the total that are growing nicely […] And so with that kind of change in the installed base and with the services that we have now and others that we are working on, I think this is just a huge opportunity for us.”
Two possibilities that he could be referring to is a push for Apple to become the “Netflix of magazines” as was reported by Bloomberg, or the long-rumoured TV show subscription service Apple is currently buying content for.
Apple’s planned capital return — the money it’s giving to shareholders — will be larger than all but 20 S&P 500 companies.
Here’s a lovely chart, via the Financial Times, that shows the staggering size of the amount of money Apple is returning to shareholders:
Apple is returning more cash than any company ever. Total capital returns of $210bn by June is more than the market cap of all but 20 S&P 500 companies.https://t.co/ev3os4MHmZ pic.twitter.com/r7GjyCaCuR
— Robin Wigglesworth (@RobinWigg) May 2, 2018
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