Apple have announced their second quarter financial results and shown a massive 94% profit increase, year-on-year. Whichever way you look at it, that’s impressive. Revenues of $34.2 billion and a net profit margin of $11.6 billion are impressive numbers for any business. Most would be happy with revenues of $11.6 billion, let alone that much profit.
The sale of 35.1 million iPhones and 11.8 million iPads is always going to help, especially with the cost of those devices, but I think there is more to it than that – excluding other Apple hardware.
When you buy an iDevice, be it an iPhone, iPad or iPod, it comes with Apple’s own operating system for those devices, iOS (currently version 5). The only real competitor to iOS is Android, Google’s mobile OS which is currently at version 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and was released on October 19th 2011 (version 4.0.1). Despite being around for 6 months now, the majority of Android devices are still running either version 2 or version 3 of the operating system, and manufacturers are not very forthcoming with the release dates of their updated OS.
I have had my phone, an LG Optimus 2x, for 12 months now, and it is currently on Android version 2.3.4. Not only is this not the latest version of Android, it’s not even the latest version of the “Gingerbread” release (any 2.3 version), which is 2.3.7 and released back in September 2011. If I had an Apple iPhone, I would either be on iOS 4, if I had an iPhone 3, or iOS 5 if I had an iPhone 3G or newer. Given my desire for new technology, it’s a safe bet that I would be on iOS 5. Apple makes a point to update bugs and push them out to customers across all devices fairly son after a release, not to wait over a year to get some minor update pushed out and this is where, I think, iOS is probably better than Android.
Sure, Android is set to work on a lot more hardware than iOS and that would account for some of the delay in releasing from manufacturers, but the operating system should either work on a given combination of hardware, or require an upgrade. If, when Windows 8 is released, you had to buy a completely new PC with all new hardware just to get it running, you wouldn’t get it, especially if you only bought a PC with Windows 7 on it last year. Microsoft try to make their operating systems fairly compatible with recent hardware, as do the likes of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.
The only reason Android can’t do that is that manufacturers meddle too much in what they release, filling their version of the operating system with a load of junk which has to be compatible going forward. If I was to put the new version of Android on the phone myself, then I would void the warranty on the phone and have no comeback should something happen to it. As it stands, until LG and other manufacturers actually get into gear and push out new versions themselves, those of us who don’t want to void our warranties are stuck with old, potentially vulnerable, versions of an operating system.
With all that in mind, the main reason I can see for such huge revenues and profits from Apple are simply that when you pay the premium for an iPhone or iPad, you’re buying into quick updates for your device from the time of release, and that is not something which should be undervalued.