Apple has a hidden business that's bigger than some airlines

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said that its “wearables” business is as big as a “Fortune 400” company, implying that it does at least $US6.7 billion in annual sales.
  • Apple considers “wearables” to be its Apple Watch, Beats headphones, and AirPods earbuds.

Apple is known as the iPhone company, because that iconic product drives over half of its sales.

But Apple CEO Tim Cook dropped hints on Thursday that the company has a new line of products that’s flying under the radar and growing quickly.

During Apple’s fiscal Q4 conference call, Cook referred to the new business “wearables.” And although Apple doesn’t break out financial results for the wearables category as it does with the iPhone or iPad businesses, Cook dropped a revealing clue about the size of this growing business.

“Our entire wearables business was up 75% year-over-year in the fourth quarter and in fiscal 2017 already generated the annual revenue of a Fortune 400 company,” Cook said.

The no. 400 company in the United States by revenue is Calpine, which did $US6.7 billion in sales last year.

That suggests that Apple’s “wearables” business did at least $US6.7 billion in sales per year.

For comparison, that would mean Apple’s wearable business is larger than companies like Jones Financial, JetBlue, and Activision Blizzard.

More than just watches

What does Apple’s consider a “wearable?” In May, Cook said that Apple considers wearables to be its Apple Watch, Beats headphones, and Airpods, which are wireless earbuds. At that time, he said that Apple’s wearables business was the size of a Fortune 500 company, or had more than $US5.1 billion in annual revenue.

Investors want more information about how Apple Watch is selling. Although it dominates the smartwatch market, it hasn’t made a big impact on Apple’s bottom line yet — although that’s partially due to just how big Apple is . Instead, Apple Watch is reported in a category of “Other Products,” which Apple once said was to keep valuable sales information from its competitors.

Apple still doesn’t release Apple Watch sales, but it’s found a new way to hint that they’re selling briskly.

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