Apple Posts Record Quarter

Posted on January 27, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Apple with 52 Comments

Today, Apple reported that it earned a net income of $28.76 billion on revenues of $111.4 billion, what the firm calls “an all-time record.”

“This quarter wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless and innovative work of every Apple team member worldwide,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a prepared statement. “We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season.”

As Apple notes, each of its product categories saw double-digit growth in the quarter, and it’s no surprise that iPhone remains Apple’s biggest business, with almost $66 billion in revenues in the quarter, or about 59 percent of all revenues. iPhone revenues were up 17 percent year-over-year (YOY).

Services was Apple’s second-biggest business in the quarter, with $15.76 billion in revenues, up from $12.7 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Wearables, Home, and Accessories delivered almost $13 billion in revenues, while the Mac landed at $8.7 billion and the iPad hit $8.4 billion.

So there you go. Yikes.

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Comments (54)

54 responses to “Apple Posts Record Quarter”

  1. toukale

    Let me get it out of the way "Doomed" /s.

  2. ghostrider

    I guess people stuck at home still have money to spend, so are buying Apple toys to keep them amused. Personally, I wouldn't buy anything with an Apple logo on it, but for a company that operate at the luxury/premium end of the market, they've certainly made people at least believe their products are worth spending more on (and replacing many annually) - it's clear Apple's marketing/PR departments are doing their jobs well.

    • Saarek

      In reply to ghostrider:

      I think the total value of a proposition really depends on your circumstances.


      For example I could buy a Dell XPS over a MacBook Air. The XPS is a lovely looking computer, it's got good specs, should last me a few years and is frequently on sale making it the same price or cheaper than the MacBook Air at point of sale.


      But it's not a Mac, will not play nicely with all of my Apple devices and ultimately will be worthless in 3 years or so whereas my MacBook Air will still be worth half it's price in 3 years. Value in this case is clearly in the Mac's favour when one considers residual value, I also gain value from it being part of the Apple ecosystem and so fits in nicely with all of my devices.


      Ours is an Apple Household, slowly built up over a number of years. We have everything from HomePods to iPhones, Apple TV's to Apple Watches all along with Mac's of various age and type.


      The "value" in my household is gained from how all of my devices work together as one and how they also work for my entire family and visiting guests.


      Incidentally I don't just buy the latest version of what Apple produces each year, mainly because there is simply no need to. Our oldest device in current operation is the Apple TV 3 which we bought way back in 2012! My kids spend their homeschool lives on a 2013 iMac, my wife still has her Apple Watch Series 3 and iPhone 6S, etc. And despite these devices being older, sometimes much older, they all still work together with the latest kit as a cohesive whole.


      Yes, I could achieve similar results by daisy chaining together devices from various manufacturers. But this is usually at the expense of privacy and ease of setup.


      Nothing wrong with having a personal preference for Windows, Android and all the other competing devices out there. But I do disagree with your assessment that Apple devices are just toys and are only worth what they cost because people are somehow hoodwinked into thinking they are better.


      It's a known fact that the Apple hardware retains value really well and so can frequently work out cheaper over the long term once residule value is added in. At the same time some of their devices are demonstratably "better" than the competition in certain areas, such as with the iPad or the new M1 based Mac's.


      Yes, Apple only operates in the premium segment. But that's a good thing, at least to my mind.

    • xamzara

      In reply to ghostrider:

      ”buying Apple toys”


      Just out of interest, why do you think that Apple devices are “toys” any more than other smartphones, tablets, computers, smartwatches or headphones?


      Is iPad a toy compared to an Android tablet? I mean, you can do so much more on an iPad thanks to the killer hardware and astonishing third party software selection. But of course you know all this.


      Also, I can’t think of any Apple product which needs to be replaced annually. Maybe AirPods if you use them 12 hours every day.


      iPhones last longer than anything else out there. You get OS updates for half a decade, at least, and the availability of service such as battery replacements is excellent.


      My iPhone X is 38 months old. Still fantastic, with up to date software. Battery replaced once by authorised repair. Went to nearby library for 30 minutes while they did it.


      I suspect that outside a small group of enthusiasts, very very few people buy a new iPhone every year.

    • yoshi

      In reply to ghostrider:

      "Apple toys". You kind of lost all credibility to your post right there.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to ghostrider:

      My roofer showed me his iPad Pro he bought for business. He didn’t consider it a toy. The plumbers use iPad minis to generate the bill and send me a receipt (maybe that’s why the plumbing bill is so expensive..jk). It’s not a toy to their business.


      sometimes things just work really well for the chosen task.

  3. mikegalos

    And on the same day issued critical security updates for which they recommend immediate updates for everyone using the current version of pretty much every OS they make due to an existing race condition exploit which allow elevation of privileges and that has already found in the wild and been actively exploited for:

    watchOS 7.3

    tvOS 14.4

    iOS 14.4

    iPadOS 14.4



    plus additional exploits against iCloud for Windows, Xcode and WebKit


    Some days are both good and bad.


    • pecosbob04

      In reply to MikeGalos: Hi Mikey! Valid point; somewhat irrelevant in the context of the thread unless of course you are implying that that news is the reason the stock performance in the aftermarket seems to not make sense in relation to the numbers announced. That could be I suppose but as you well know that sort of info is unlikely to move the needle, but my explanation that analysts expected an even bigger set of numbers and therefore are punishing Apple for a "miss" seems mildly ludicrous on its face. Perhaps the opening will provide clarity. I know you will be up early to track the trend. Cheers.


      • mikegalos

        In reply to pecosbob04:

        More a way of getting the announcement read since it's being treated as a critical security hole already being exploited and I didn't see it getting a lot of coverage. Putting an announcement in a thread where Apple fans were telling each other how wonderful they were for buying products from a company making record profits off of them seemed a good place for it to get noticed.

        • pecosbob04

          In reply to MikeGalos: While there obviously are Apple fans on Paul's site I feel that to a person they or any Apple fan would be aware of this issue from other sources but thanks for sharing. (sharing is caring). To be clear while I read the site mostly for the Apple articles and snark it is not my go to site for NEWS about Apple.

          "Apple fans were telling each other how wonderful they were for buying products from a company making record profits off of them"

          Ah, there's the Mikey we all love. However I will say that while I do consider myself WONDERFUL my choice of hardware / software / services is fairly low on the scale of things that constitute that wonderfulness. YMMV of course.


        • someguy1984

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          "Putting an announcement in a thread where Apple fans were telling each other how wonderful they were for buying products from a company making record profits off of them seemed a good place for it to get noticed."


          Yes, I'm sure -dozens- of "Apple fans" got the word from this thread! Thank you for your service!


          Also, that news has been all over multiple websites.

    • Jeffsters

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Hi Mike! Good to see you and once again get your thoughtful comments on all things Apple!

  4. bluvg

    And according to Scoble, they're just getting started:


    "Apple is readying what I have heard is the biggest product introduction of all time. So big that it will come in two parts. Part One comes this year. More on what Apple is up to soon. It’s big and most people, even the smart analysts, haven’t figured it out yet."


    Any bets? How about a camera/set of sensors in the watch or phone that understand your body and what you're eating, and gives you real-time health measurements and feedback? Or maybe something else health service related, extending what they're doing with watchOS and their new workout subscription stuff?

  5. michael_babiuk

    In reply to IMPORTANT EDIT OF THE FOLLOWING POST: As Daishi pointed out, the original Surface Studio was introduced in 2016 and NOT in 2011 as I had stated. The Surface Studio II was introduced 2 years later in 2018 (which was correct). This error is serious and really reduces my logical arguments behind my comment. My sincerest apologies. (BTW, I know how this error was made. It is rather embarrassing. Grin)
    You may have misunderstood the reasons why I chose that comparison. The main reason that comparison was made was to illustrate Apple's commitment to a yearly evolution of Apple hardware to the relative hardware and software stagnation of the Surface Studio lineup. And that stagnation allowed Apple to improve their hardware so much that even a lowly smartphone SOC has now eclipsed the integer and floating point calculation performance of the Intel CPU in the Studio II models. (Not to mention the graphic performance comparisons between the two computers now)
    Consider a similar comparison. The Surface Studio was introduced in 2011. The iPad 2 was introduced in the same year.
    Yet eight years after both the Surface Studio and the iPad had first been introduced, the 2011 iPad had evolved to a 2018 iPad Pro version having an A12X SOC capable of eclipsing the CPU and GPU capabilities of the Surface Studio II.
    BTW, the GeekBench scores for the 2018 iPad Pro's A12X REALLY blow the doors off that Intel Core i7 in the current Surface Studio II model.
    The point is: What has Microsoft done to improve the Surface Studio II? Has it upgraded the processor, the graphics subsystem, the serial ports to Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C 4? Faster memory? Exactly - no hardware upgrades to speak of in 4 years since the Studio II was introduced.
    Did Apple stand still in improving the iPad Pro experience since 2018? Nope and this year (2021), the rumored iPad Pro upgrades promise a major hardware upgrade for many subsystems.
    What could the Surface Studio - and more importantly - every Surface model be capable of now if Microsoft had committed to yearly upgrades? IMO, the Surface ecosystem would not be stagnating and their market share and installed user base would have been much greater.
  6. Michael_Miller

    Apple has bet on people relying on three separate devices (phone, tablet, and a laptop and by extension, the services that Apple offers; add to it, extreme mobility that these devices offer). And Apple has won.

  7. F4IL

    They're being rewarded for making good products and knowing how to sell them.

  8. Jorge Garcia

    You can't love the idea of computers and love Apple at the same time. Computers are just calculators so any limitations they have should be inherent to their cost and physical hardware. (I.E. A computer of x cost and x spec should be able to do anything that its board is capable of doing, and NEVER permanently crippled by the manufacturer). I understand dumbing things down for user friendliness, but never intentionally forbid or deny the advanced user from unlocking and using every single capability he paid for. Kudos to Apple for constantly figuring out how to extract more bucks from the citizenry, but all that does (in my mind) is reinforce the idea of how bad our education system has become.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Maybe the magic of Apple is that they look at computing devices as being more than just a calculator :)
      • Jorge Garcia

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Point taken but I've never found anything Apple has done to be Magical. I totally get the computer as worry-free appliance, and it is a shame (to me) that only Apple, by the totalitarian nature of how they do business, can deliver the most worry-free experience out there, but permanently crippling a bunch of microchips and copper wires so as to never allow the advanced user to fully utilize the product they paid for isn't at all magical to me. Magic to me was the Atari 800 coming with what was essentially a USB port in 1979 (the SIO), or the magic of Commodore being able to put a machine with very good graphics and sound onto millions of desks and into millions of family rooms...But I wouldn't dare argue with the T himself :-)

        • Paul Thurrott

          No, no. We can debate anything, of course. But there are about one billion people who disagree with you on the magical thing. I'll just say that when something does literally just work, it is magical. And Apple has a pretty good track record at that.
  9. cavalier_eternal

    It’s funny, every produce that Apple has released that falls into the Wearables, Home and Accessories (Apple Watch, Home Pod and Air Pods) has been panned at announcement and yet that division is now Apple’s third largest growing 30% yoy.

    • ikjadoon

      In reply to cavalier_eternal:

      I think it’s because consumers trust Apple: it sounds silly in retrospect, but loyalty is quite hard to substitute.


      They know, “OK, it’ll be pretty good, have a long support cycle, hold its value, be easy enough to use, and it’ll probably be more restricted yet more integrated if Apple makes it. I’ll pay more, but I trust Apple won’t make it a bad device.”

  10. shameer_mulji

    Apple literally blew the doors off for their fiscal Q1. In a quarter where Surface revenue grew 3% YoY, Mac revenue grew 21% and iPad revenue grew 41%.

    • shark47

      In reply to shameer_mulji:

      Mac revenues were below analyst expectations. Also, my Microsoft shares jumped after the earnings and Apple fell, which sucks.


      Anyway, you know you can celebrate Apple's quarter without the comparisons right?

      • shameer_mulji

        In reply to shark47:

        “Anyway, you know you can celebrate Apple's quarter without the comparisons right?”


        Whether I do or don’t, why do you care? MS continually makes ads comparing the Surface to Apple products & poking fun at the same time. In a pandemic, where the PC industry grew by low double-digits, MS Surface sales were essentially stagnant while growth of Apple’s Mac & iPad sales were double the industry average.


        MS brought it on themselves. I’m not going to cut them slack because you want me to.

        • shark47

          In reply to shameer_mulji:


          Fair enough, but it's stupid to do so. Microsoft's Surface line is not a big success and just because they compare themselves to Apple doesn't mean it's a valid comparison. Heck, I can compare myself to Satya Nadella. Doesn't make me Satya.


          Apple and Microsoft aren't even similar anymore. Microsoft makes money mostly from services and software and Apple does so from hardware.

          • solomonrex

            In reply to shark47:

            It's a valid competition, esp when MS runs ads directly against Macs, when Macs compete better than they ever have, when MS just closed their stores and couldn't expand their sales meaningfully during record high pandemic sales. And MS had introduced entry level devices in the last two years, and an Arm device that can't match Apples.


            It's a notably poor performance, regardless of their core business.

      • rbgaynor

        In reply to shark47:

        Can you cite any sources to back up your contention that Mac revenues were below analysts expectations? Analysts during the earnings call seemed genuinely impressed.

        • bkkcanuck

          In reply to rbgaynor:

          I don't know if Macs was above or below expectations, but given M1 Macs were supply constrained (Macbook Airs still are)... and after the M1 Mac was released and expectations were set... I would expect the Intel Macs sales to be impacted (at least a little) as people wait for the M1 Mac that they want... still reasonably impressive.

          • shark47

            In reply to bkkcanuck:


            Don't think the point I was trying to make is that it wasn't impressive. I think they've had a phenomenal quarter and I'm glad I put money in Apple shares when I did. At this point, I think the company is an unstoppable juggernaut.

  11. michael_babiuk

    MPORTANT EDIT OF THE FOLLOWING POST: As Daishi pointed out, the original Surface Studio was introduced in 2016 and NOT in 2011 as I had stated. The Surface Studio II was introduced 2 years later in 2018. This error is serious and really reduces my logical arguments behind my comment. My sincerest apologies. (BTW, I know how this error was made. It is rather embarrassing. Grin)


    Ok, it's official. Apple prints money which is not very surprising for the most valuable brand in the world (once again). But that is not what this comment is all about. There is a more important question to ask. The question is "why" and more specifically, why did (as shammer_mulji pointed out) the iPad lineup post a 41% growth YoY vs the Microsoft Surface lineup's YoY growth rate-which remained somewhat stagnant.


    Here are my thoughts.


    Since the iPad was introduced, it has provided significant software and hardware upgrades on a yearly basis. That might be the KEY differentiator between the two ecosystems.


    The Surface lineup can go years before any significant upgrade occurs. For example, the Surface Studio (a product that REALLY appealed to me) has only had ONE hardware upgrade since it was introduced in 2011. Indeed, the Surface Studio 2 posts Geekbench 5 scores that my humble iPhone 12 Pro Max's A14 Bionic chip easy surpasses! And that is just a comparison between a smartphone chipset versus the Surface Studio's Intel Core 7 chipset.


    The iPad lineup enjoys a significant customer approval advantage due to a significant price per productivity and/or consumer enjoyment ratio. One might even state a price per performance ratio iPad victory as well.


    But my main point is that Microsoft has not invested nearly enough hardware engineering resources per year to upgrade their core Surface models. And, that is the key reason, IMO, that the iPad lineup recorded a 8.4 Billion dollars quarter vs a 2 Billion dollar quarter for the Surface lineup.

    • illuminated

      In reply to Michael_Babiuk:

      "Surface Studio 2 posts Geekbench 5 scores that my humble iPhone 12 Pro Max's A14 Bionic chip easy surpasses!"


      Are you saying that your iPhone is faster than intel i7 CPU?

      Why then cloud providers like Azure and Amazon AWS are still running everything on intel CPUs?

      Something is weird.


      • michael_babiuk

        In reply to illuminated: Well, the question was, is the A14 chip faster than an Intel Core i7 CPU?
        First, I was comparing ONLY the Intel Core i7 currently in the Surface Studio II and in that comparison, the ARM A14 performs single and floating point calculations faster than that particular Intel Core i7 chip.
        The Intel chips used in AWS and Azure servers are - and I'm guessing here - based on far more powerful Intel Xeon chipsets. Just log on to the following Amazon website for a detailed answer. aws.amazon.com/intel/
        Nothing is "weird" here.


      • xamzara

        In reply to illuminated:

        ”Are you saying that your iPhone is faster than intel i7 CPU?”


        Yes, it indeed is faster in pretty much everything.


        Also, look at Apple M1 perf and energy consumption.


        When it comes to the cloud, Amazon is already using their own ARM based chip in addition to Intel and Microsoft is rumoured to be designing their own.


        Amazon’s chip probably isn’t a match for Intel offerings in performance, but apparently it’s close enough with, I’m guessing, much less use of energy.

      • nbplopes

        In reply to illuminated:


        In certain workflows, you bet.


        Yes, at first sight it is weird. Than it becomes normal with usage.


        EDIT: It matches my Core i9 with 64GB in certain activities.


        EDIT: Sorry, not talking about the iPhone, but the iPad Pro. Have no idea about the iPhone.


        EDIT: That is why some technologists are so excited about the M series while other try to sunk it under the pretext of number of ports and keyboards.

    • b6gd

      In reply to Michael_Babiuk:

      The iPad is a touch first tablet, used primarily for consumption. It is best in class and massive software and 3rd party device support. With its recent updates (OS) you can press it into light laptop duties, with mouse support now.


      The Surface is not a great tablet or laptop. Windows is not a great tablet OS and the touch supported software that works good on any Windows touch enabled device is few and far between. The Surface is the jack of all trades and master of none. I have never understood the allure. Sure some people love it, a college OneNote user with the pen, that can be the laptop as well vs a iPad and MacBook combo. There simply is not enough of those people to matter.

    • RobertJasiek

      In reply to Michael_Babiuk:

      Concerning iPads versus Windows tablets, my main criteria are:

      • serve as tablet and PC: still neither
      • file (and file transfer) management: Windows tablets win extremely (iPadOS 13 has changed from previously terrible to now only almost terrible)
      • backup: Windows tablets win extremely
      • software: Windows tablets win extremely for my needs
      • display ratio: iPads win (4:3 is better than 3:2 as the best for Windows tablets)
      • reflectance for 4:3 displays: iPads win
      • battery life of eligible tablets: iPads win (but are still barely acceptable)
      • battery change: neither wins
      • repairability: neither wins
      • handholdable: iPads win
      • OS updates: Windows tablets win
      • walled garden: Windows tablets win (because only iPads have unnecessary restrictions)
      • annoyance: neither wins
      • security: Windows tablets win (after days of configuration work)


      So neither wins but if I restrict usage to "consumption", it becomes: iPads win for display ratio, reflectance, battery life, handholdable while restricted file management is partly possible enabling at least some (not all!) consumption at all. Introduction of a camera bump to also the ordinary iPad and Mini would, however, be enough reason to quit because then I would not qualify iPads as handholdable, which is a necessary requirement, any more.

      • pecosbob04

        In reply to RobertJasiek:

        Ya know, somehow I get the feeling the iPad is not the device for you. Maybe you're just not a tablet kind of guy.

        • RobertJasiek

          In reply to pecosbob04:

          My main PC is a barebone with a 6W-CPU and Windows 10 Pro. My secondary computer is a tablet, which currently is an iPad and I use regularly. This means that a tablet could be my only computer if only the right tablet existed. (RTX 3080 is an extra topic.)

          Since the right tablet does not exist but I need some, the iPad Mini 4 is my emergency solution instead of not having any tablet. Too little has changed since 2015: there is still no viable Windows tablet alternative. If any came close, I would replace my iPad immediately.

          In reality, however, I have to live with the very severe drawbacks of iPadOS and Apple service. It is just that living without tablet would be even worse.

          • nbplopes

            In reply to RobertJasiek:


            Maybe you already have the right solution. A tablet paired with a desktop its a powerful solution. What you need may be is better integration between both?


            I understand that it does not fit the bill of “one computer”. Maybe such bill being the best solution is a fallacy of design. Meaning, that even there you will find cons. The example is the Surface line. It delivers precisely what you describe as the best solution. Except that when you compare with dedicated solutions, it is not.


            I don’t understand why you don’t just replace you iPad for a Surface. I mean, considering you attribute such severe drawbacks to your iPad why not?


            If not maybe is the case that the Surface concept, of one computer, has even deeper drawbacks than “severe”? Just don’t understand how is that possible. I did not like it at all, and know precisely why. But that does not seam to be your case,


            You mentioned the iPad Mini ... get the Surface Go ... it is small and integrates far better with your Windows desktop features than your iPad.


            That is what I would do if I preferred Windows OS and related devices.


            Take this suggestion from someone that prefers the Apple solution.

            • RobertJasiek

              In reply to nbplopes:

              Better integration between both: absolutely! The fault is entirely on the side of iPadOS, which should provide general, flawless file transfer but does not.

              (Example from yesterday: due to a Files bug, which was not dissolved by force-closing Files or restarting the iPad, I had to manually delete each single file of dozens. If I had tried to move 100.000 files, I would have had to reinstall Files or, if that should not have solved the problem, reinstall iPadOS. The lesson is to never expect things to just work on iPadOS but to first test for a single file, then to start a file operation on many files.)

              Fallacy by design: I do not think so. The only limitation would be the number of ports but this is not a principle problem but only a problem of bad choice by the tablet manufacturer. All office(-like) tasks could be handled by a CPU, passive cooling and battery fitting a tablet form factor. Ok, the second possible limitation is the number of cables to be put on / off when leaving / arriving at the desk. From what I read about that, the situation is not ideal yet. I imagine a passively cooled VESA-dock on the back of my monitor, where to connect the tablet with one cable, but I have never heard of such simplicity yet. (The third limitation of RTX 3080-computing requiring a gaming desktop is another topic, but does not prevent a possible integration of a tablet and my current office-barebone.)

              Surface Pro: simply speaking, it lacks ports for the sake of possibly integrating tablet and barebone. Besides, it is not the best tablet.

              Surface Go instead of iPad: still a failure. Significantly thicker, glare display, too short battery life, rip-off in reasonable configurations, CPU still suboptimal for the device's purposes (which is more Intel's fault). Of course, the Surface Go would better integrate for file management, file transfer and softwares I use. However, at the same time it would be much worse as a tablet, especially handholding outdoors for allegedly a whole day. For that, it must get a better, that is, more energy-efficient but not slower CPU (enabling much longer battery life and thinner chassis) and a matte display or at the very least iPad-like reduced reflectance. (Besides, a replacable battery would double to triple the value of the tablet, quite like the same for an iPad would.)

              Surface Go (or other Windows tablet) would only be good enough so far if 1) I used tablets indoor only, 2) I replaced (and could afford to do so) tablets every 2 years to not notice a decreasing battery and 3) the manufacturer would offer free battery replacement for at least 2 years to compensate occasional early battery failures (as do exist according to reports). (The few existing Windows tablets worth mentioning with replaceable battery have useless 16:9 displays.)

    • Daishi

      In reply to Michael_Babiuk:


      the Surface Studio (a product that REALLY appealed to me) has only had ONE hardware upgrade since it was introduced in 2011


      Except it was introduced in 2016. Though I’m sure that this kind of basic error doesn’t undermine the point you’re trying to make. But then you relied on Geekbench...

      • michael_babiuk

        In reply to Daishi: IMPORTANT EDIT OF MY PREVIOUS COMMENTS. As YOU have pointed out, the original Surface Studio was introduced in 2016 and NOT in 2011 as I had stated in several previous comments. The Surface Studio II was introduced 2 years later in 2018 (which was correct). This error is serious and really reduces my logical arguments behind my comments. My sincerest apologies. (BTW, I know how this error was made. It is rather embarrassing. Grin)
        I have edited my previous comments to provide the correct Surface Studio timeline and to give you credit for catching this error. Again, my sincerest thanks.


  12. nbplopes

    in their product line, the weakest link was macOS Intel ... and they are sorting that out.


    Can’t wait to see what kind of desktops s they have lined up for the next two years. I’m out of the laptop game as I’ve moved to a combination of iPad and the iMac.

  13. tghallin

    In the early 2000's, Apple was a second tier player with their iPod and Mac. Their first attempt to put the iPod in a cell phone, the Motorola ROKR, was a real failure. I worked at Motorola at the time and both companies wanted control. I think when they realized that they could just put a GSM radio in an iPod touch and call it an iPhone, they got lucky. The iPod touch was beginning to takeover the portable music market and by attaching it to a phone they ended up with a device that already was able to run apps. As a phone, it was a failure, as anyone at Motorola could tell you (poor radio, no battery life, no keyboard, required too much data bandwidth). But it was a good music player, could run simple games, and was immediately loved by the Apple fans.


    Once they got started, by totally controlling the ecosystem they began locking families into Apple. Look at who bought the iPad and I suspect that 90% of the owners have an iPhone. The total Windows and Android ecosystems may be larger, but no one company controls it all.

    It's interesting to see how different total control of the ecosystem is now versus the old Apple II vs IBM pc era. The unlocking of the bios that allowed anyone to get in the IBM pc compatible business (e.g. Gateway and Dell) opened up the market in a way that neither Apple or IBM (or Commodore or Atari) could have on their own.


    And while people either love or hate Apple, the iPhone has totally changed how people communicate with others and how they interact with the rest of the world.

    • jdawgnoonan

      In reply to tghallin:

      Your history is way off. iPod and iTunes took over the music business long before iPhone or the iPod Touch which came rougly a year after the iPhone. The iPod, for about 3 years prior to the iPhone 1, every year had many challengers that the press called "iPod Killers", including Zune and myriad mediocre players from makers who partnered with Microsoft's failed "Plays For Sure". The Motorola ROKR was a product that Apple knew was a failure prior to release as they knew that it was a piece of crap. iPhone was already being worked on prior to ROCKR. Essentially all Apple did with that was license the ability to connect to iTunes to Motorola so that the device could connect to iTunes for music. Apple's real lock in is that they create a family of products that seamlessly work together with almost 0 effort on the part of the user. No one has matched Apple on that to this day.


      I bought my first Mac, a PowerBook in 2004, after getting my first iPod in 2003 (an iPod Mini when iPod was really starting to take off), and compared to my other computer, which was running Windows XP, the PowerBook was simply elegant, much more reliable, and had things that Windows lacked for years like a fully indexed file system that you could search everything on the drive in seconds and a laptop trackpad that was a joy to use compared to any Windows laptop at the time. That iPod Mini and iTunes, which at the time was far better than any music software anyone else offered, convinced me to try a Mac. At the same time, Microsoft continued to flounder with XP which was quite long in the tooth when it was finally replaced by Vista. My first experience with Vista was setting up a brand new computer for my nephew that he got for Christmas, the worthless thing could hardly make it through the Windows set up process. My next experience with Vista was helping field it to an office of about 400 users, and it was a nightmare for everyone involved. Microsoft earned their credibility back with Windows 7, and then nearly blew it with Windows 8 (which I actually liked quite a lot).

  14. Jorge Garcia

    In reply to Greg Green:

    Yes obviously and the sales numbers show that to be the case :-). Well, call me old fashioned but when it comes to computers I only consider three things to be valid measures of its worth: 1. The quality of the Hardware 2. The quality of the Software 3. The Price. What I cannot stand about Apple is that they introduce all kinds of other "considerations" into the mix which can often allow them to sell an inferior product at an exaggerated price...those considerations are fashion, FOMO and worst of all...ecosystem lock-in! The last one especially makes me sick to my stomach.

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