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One billion iPhones

Reuters/Kimberly White
Where it all started in 2007.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

…is a lot of pocket computers.

Over the last nine years, Apple has sold 1 billion iPhone smartphones, the company announced today, less than a day after its third-quarter earnings. That’s about one iPhone for every three people on the planet with access to the internet.

In that time, Apple shed the “Computer” from its name, and proceeded to help bring about a revolution in the way we communicate and share information.

Even though this was the second quarter in a row where iPhone revenue had fallen from a year earlier, the company could still boast that its line of phones had managed to sell a quantity that we tend to reserve for things like lightbulbs and McDonald’s hamburgers.

At its peak, the iPhone brought in over $50 billion in revenue for Apple in a single quarter. Since the last quarter of 2009, the iPhone alone has generated over $580 billion for the company—and that’s not including accessories, apps, iTunes songs, cases, or Apple Care.

The iPhone has increasingly dominated the company’s revenue. Sales of iPhones now account for roughly two-thirds of Apple’s quarterly revenue, with that share almost touching 70% at the start of 2015.

On June 29, 2007, the day of the original phone’s launch, Apple shares stood at $17.43—yesterday they closed at $97.34, a fivefold increase over the last nine years. (Apple’s stock price reached a high of $130.54 last June.)

During the smartphone’s meteoric rise, the average price of an iPhone—calculated by dividing the number of iPhones sold in a quarter by the revenue generated by the iPhone for Apple—has also shifted. The cost of the original models in 2007 cost $499 and $599 (based on the size of the hard drive), and today’s flagship models start at $649 and range up to $949, depending on screen size and storage space.

And over the past few years, where Apple makes its money has started to change. Its second-largest market, after the Americas, has long been Europe. But in recent quarters, China has started to overtake Europe. Given the difficult regulatory climate for Western companies operating in China, it remains to be seen whether Apple will be able to continue growing in increasingly saturated markets, or be able to make inroads into growing markets like India in order to find its next billion iPhone sales.

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