Tim Cook may have talked up the importance of Apple’s “services” segment when he announced the company’s latest earnings this week, but Apple’s fate is still inextricably linked to its iconic iPhone.
No matter what new products and services Apple has launched since June 2007, when the iPhone was first released, nothing has come close to contributing to the firm’s fortunes like the iPhone has.
If all of Apple’s product lines were growing strongly, the mix wouldn’t matter so much. But revenues for the iPhone, Mac, and the “other products” segment (the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and other gadgets) all fell in the company’s latest quarter.
It’s the dip in iPhone sales that matters. Customers are holding onto their phones for longer, and demand for the smartphone has weakened in China, once the company’s growth engine. The iPhone’s outsize impact is reflected in the group’s overall revenues:
Apple is spending furiously on R&D the hopes of coming up with another iPhone-sized hit. It might be the vaunted “Apple Car,” or it might be something else entirely. But for the foreseeable future, it’s all about the iPhone, for better or worse.