The best description yet that illustrates the mind-blowing number of iPhones Apple ships in a quarter

Apple shipped 74 million iPhones during last year’s holiday quarter.

That’s a lot of iPhones — but to most people, 74 million is just a really big number that’s beyond comprehension.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, put this number in perspective when speaking with Re/code at its Code Conference.

The interview took place at the end of May ahead of Apple’s big Worldwide Developer Conference, but Re/code just recently published its full conversation with Williams online.

Here’s how he describes the number of iPhones Apple sold last holiday season.

“If you stacked all of the phones — you know how thin they are, an iPhone 6 — if you stacked them like pancakes, not only would they be taller than the tallest building, they would go up a few hundred miles, such that they would be higher than the orbit of the International Space Station.”

To put that into perspective, the International Space Station orbits the Earth at an altitude of between 205 miles and 255 miles, which is between 1,082,400 and 1,346,400 feet.

Apple sold those 74 million iPhones in just 90 days — and it’s Williams’ job to make sure all of those iPhones get manufactured and shipped properly. Williams has been referred to as “Tim Cook’s Tim Cook” since he’s in charge of Apple’s supply chain, one of the areas Cook was in charge of overseeing as Apple’s COO before being promoted to CEO.

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