If you don’t follow tech websites, you may not know that Apple updated its iMac line yesterday. The update didn’t change the iMac’s form factor, but boosted processor speed, added faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and moved to faster flash memory.
Unlike the recent update to the iPhone line, the iMac update didn’t get an Apple event, with Tim Cook and other top Apple executives touting and demoing the new products on stage. No, Apple merely posted a press release on its website.
We’ve seen carefully orchestrated presentations for the iMac, the last one in October, 2012. But Apple no longer needs to go the extra mile with incremental updates to these computers, as they did in the past. Because they have the iPhone.
In the past dozen years, Apple has changed from a computer company selling computers and accessories to a company selling a broad line of computing devices. In 2001, almost all of Apple’s revenue came from the Mac; now, computers represent less than 5% of the company’s turnover.
This change from one dominant product in Apple’s bottom line to another has happened more than once. When Apple introduced the iPod, in 2001, the portable media player quickly took up 14% of one quarter’s earnings. It fluctuated for the first couple of years, then, in Q1 2006 and 2007, accounted for more than 90% of Apple’s earnings.
But over time, the iPod became an everyday object, and the launch of the iPhone in 2007, pushed it out of the limelight. Today, the iPhone accounts for 58% of Apple’s revenue; the iPad 27%; the Mac and iPod each bring in less than 10%. (And this is with overall income growing at an impressive rate.)
You can see the evolution of each of Apple’s product families as a share of total revenue in this chart, provided by Rob Griffiths of Many Tricks (click to zoom):
For Apple, now, the phone’s the thing. We’ll keep seeing Apple events to present new models of the iPhone for the coming years, until that gets replaced by another product. Apple will certainly also hold events to present new iPads (one is expected in October), as well as the forthcoming Mac Pro, whose revolutionary design will certainly interest high-end users, but whose price may limit its appeal. The Mac Pro will most likely be more of a showcase for Apple’s design team than a computer designed to make a profit.
Apple famously dropped “Computer” from the company’s name in 2007. It’s more and more obvious that Apple is not a computer company, but a computing device company. And the one device that will be in the spotlight for the near future is the iPhone.