Apple’s Q3 financial results, reported on August 1st, prompted a happy—and bullish—CEO in Tim Cook.
“With revenue up 7 percent year-over-year, we’re happy to report our third consecutive quarter of accelerating growth and an all-time quarterly record for Services revenue,” said Cook. “We hosted an incredibly successful Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and we’re very excited about the advances in iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS coming this fall.”
2017 is a banner year for the brand as it’s getting ready to fulfill founder Steve Jobs’ vision—and last project—by opening Apple Park in Cupertino, a 175-acre campus with a ring-shaped 2.8 million-square-foot main building sporting the world’s largest panels of curved glass. The Steve Jobs Theater at its new HQ will serve as its permanent home for product reveals, such as the new iPhone presser in September.
The company’s next data center will be built in Waukee, Iowa, a 400,000-square-foot facility to serve North American users of iMessage, Siri, the App Store and other Apple services. It will run entirely on renewable energy and the $1.3 billion investment will create over 550 construction and operations jobs in the Des Moines area.
Apple is one of the biggest job creators in the US, responsible for 2 million jobs, while spending in 2016 over $50 billion with more than 9,000 US suppliers and manufacturers.
Its global developer community has earned over $70 billion+ since the App Store launched in 2008, and in the past 12 months downloads have grown more than 70 percent, spurred by break-out hits like Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run.
The App Store’s active paid subscriptions are up 58 percent year over year. and offerings now include Netflix and Hulu, Tastemade, the mobile-first cooking network, and photo editing apps like Over and Enlight.
The release of iOS 10 brought new connectivity to users like a Starbucks gift card using Apple Pay, fashion design sketching using Prêt à Template and an endless assortment of stickers.
Apple’s newest store in the Middle East, Apple Dubai Mall, features a 186-foot curved storefront and balcony overlooking Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain.
On the original programming front, the company acquired James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke: The Series, which is coming to Apple Music subscribers with superstar pairings including Will Smith and Corden (who also takes a spin with LeBron James); Miley Cyrus and family; Shakira and Trevor Noah; Game of Thrones co-stars and pals Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams; Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith; and John Legend, Alicia Keys and Taraji P. Henson.
At Apple’s WWDC 2017 in June, Cook opened with announcements of upgrades to its software including iOS 11, 10.7-inch iPad Pro and enhanced MacBook and iMac computers.
A new iMac Pro with a 5K screen will start selling at $4,999 and comes in a darker grey. At 27 inches, it has up to 18 processor cores and starts shipping in December.
Cook called it “pretty badass,” and promises workstation class performance as the “most powerful Mac ever” with an 8-, 10-, or even 18-core Xeon processor; Radeon Vega graphics; up to 128GB of memory; 4x Thunderbolt 3 and 10GB ethernet.
New software for the Watch, watchOS 4, comes with a Siri face that can offer customized advice during a user’s day such as reminders, traffic information, upcoming meetings, news and smart home controls – and each at the right time. As for tvOS, Amazon Prime Video joins Apple TV later this year.
And then there’s the new iPhone, whose most controversial feature is the reportedly steep price. Being revealed on September 12, it’s already dubbed the ‘iPhone X.’ Released as Apple’s 10th-anniversary smartphone, it debuts wireless charging tech, a curved AMOLED display and a vertical dual rear-facing camera.
As Forbes notes of the $999 price point, “none of which is to say the iPhone 8 and subsequent 2018 models won’t be worth their price tags.”
“A stellar list of upgrades are coming but this is no longer about what an iPhone is ‘worth’ or whether its price is ‘aspirational’, it’s simply about whether they are affordable. It is about whether Apple would prefer to sell fewer iPhones and ease its supply chain demands but make more profit on each model. Ultimately it’s about what Apple wants its customer base to be.”
The company is also unveiling the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus.
Cook has said augmented reality’s potential is a game-changer comparable to that of the smartphone and a dedicated team is working on it while Apple has been fleshing out its acquisitions including the 2015 acquisition of Metaio and last year’s purchase of FlyBy Media. And The Verge notes, “Apple CEO Tim Cook has said on a number of occasions he thinks AR will be bigger than VR.”
Longtime Apple-watcher, analyst Gene Munster, believes AR devices will replace the iPhone, telling Bloomberg:
It’s something they need to do to continue to grow and defend against the shift in how people use hardware. To be successful in AR, there is the hardware piece, but you have to do other stuff too: from maps to social to payments. Apple is one of the only companies that will be able to pull it off.