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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Fun With Charts: A decade of Apple growth

I wrote a throwaway line in last week’s set of charts about just how the Apple of 2020 is not the Apple of 2010 just as the Apple of 2010 was not the Apple of 2000. I deleted the reference because I thought the thought deserved its own chart and its own article, which is this one.

Here’s the chart: This is total Apple revenue for each fiscal year (shifted a quarter from the real calendar—on January 28 we’ll hear the results of Apple’s fiscal first quarter of 2020) since 2009.

A decade of Apple revenue.

Apple left the previous decade1 as a company that was generating 43 billion dollars in revenue every fiscal year. It exited the 2010s generating 260 billion. Or to put it another way, The Apple of January 2020 is roughly six times the size of the Apple of January 2010.

I have been making charts based on Apple’s financials every three months for most of the last decade, and if there’s one thing that I think the charts don’t properly convey, it’s just how explosive Apple’s growth has been. The iPhone’s growth in the middle of the decade changed the game. And while that growth has slowed or stopped, it leaves Apple as a company that is working at a scale that’s nothing like it was when Steve Jobs was in his final years as CEO.

Let’s break that growth down by product line.

iPhone sales figures

Apple’s iPhone growth essentially parallels its overall growth. The iPhone is the engine that drove Apple’s growth in the 2010s, peaking at $165 billion in revenue in 2018. In 2011, Apple made more money on the iPhone than the entire company had earned just two years earlier. When you can increase your revenue in a product category by an order of magnitude in a decade, you’ve had a really good decade.

This is not to say that Apple’s other product lines didn’t have success in the decade.

iPad sales figures

Yes, the iPad peaked early, with three $30 billion years from 2012 to 2014. But it’s settled in as a $20 billion/year business, which is pretty good—and keep in mind, the iPad didn’t exist until the spring of 2010.

The Mac’s story in the 2010s is less dramatic:

Mac sales figures

The decade was clearly a success for the Mac, but it was an incremental success. The Mac business didn’t quite double between 2009 and 2019, but it came close. The first decade of this century was one of enormous growth for the Mac, but this one was still pretty good, if not spectacular.

If charts don’t always clearly portray just how much Apple’s business has grown over the decade, they really obscure just how huge the iPhone is compared to Apple’s businesses. I try to get it across in other chart types, but these historical revenue charts never do it justice because the scale of the charts doesn’t match.

So this time, I thought I’d match the scales. The Mac and iPad charts above are both at the same scale. Below I’ll leave the iPhone revenue chart for the decade, at the same scale as the Mac and iPad.

decade-iphone-revenue-scale

  1. If you want to argue that the decade of the 2020s does not include 2020 but does include 2030, take your coat and go. That breed of pedantry’s not welcome in this establishment. 

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