This year marks ten years since the launch of the original iPhone and, appropriately enough, Apple has ramped up its R&D spending as a percentage of its total revenue to the level it was during the development of its debut handset.
In other words, something big is coming!
A big increase in R&D spend
The Wall Street Journal writes that Apple increased its spending on R&D by 15 percent in the last quarter. That brings it to a total of $11.2 billion for the preceding 12-month period — or around 5 percent of Apple’s revenue.
While Apple doesn’t typically spend as much as other tech giants on R&D, due to the tightly-focused approach Steve Jobs reintroduced upon his return in the late 1990s, the increase is definitely significant. Since the first iPhone, Apple has grown significantly larger as a company, and has spent massive amounts on launching products like the iPad and Apple Watch. However, it’s never matched that same percentage of R&D spending.
In its last quarterly earnings, Apple wrote that it has seen, “an increase in headcount-related expenses to support expanded R&D activities.”
What’s Apple working on?
What this means remains to be seen. The two most obvious candidates are the iPhone 8 handsets and Apple’s Amazon Echo rival HomePod smart speaker, both of which will debut later this year. The iPhone 8 is set to be Apple’s biggest iPhone refresh since 2014’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — if not earlier.
What do you hope Apple’s next big product is? Leave your comments below.