It achieved $1tn of that growth in 16 months during a pandemic, however, this was driven not just by its iPhone, iPad and Mac sales but by its subscription services like Apple+ TV, Apple Fitness + and Apple Music and advertising formats.
Can Apple keep this growth going through media? Mediatel News asked agency leaders what they thought.
Steve Taylor, joint chief strategy officer at VCCP Media
“With a profit margin over 40%, Apple is too busy making money to bother with media. And delivering impacts that are at an appealing CPT for advertisers whilst maintaining Apple’s high standards of user experience is a circle even Apple’s designers will struggle to square.
“An ad-funded Apple TV+ could be an opportunity, but lacks scalability to power significant growth.
“There may be a passion project in it for someone in Cupertino, but as with Microsoft and MSN and all that followed, for really big tech companies, media doesn’t have much opportunity beyond passing academic interest.”
Pippa Glucklich, CEO at Electric Glue
“Absolutely it can. Apple not only has deep pockets, it has a profound understanding of what makes its customers tick – and what keeps them loyal.
“Apple TV+ made a relatively late arrival to the streaming party but I believe it’s well-placed over the medium term to become market leader.
“Its iPhone Search Ads proposition has been developing nicely too – but I think in comparison the global potential for TV+ subscription revenues is vast. We’ve only really scratched the surface so far.”
Jem Lloyd-Williams, CEO at Mindshare UK
“When you look at Apple’s evolution and growth over the last four years – now a fully-diversified tech-media-content player, with revenues topping $1bn a day in its last fiscal, and with the bubble surrounding its cash-cow iPhone looking as intact as ever, you’d say $3tn is a toppy but not unrealistic valuation.
“Apple is only just beginning to really focus on new areas of growth in media, such as music, TV and the cloud – all areas of rich, if increasingly competitive, headroom.
“So, to grow even bigger in valuation is certainly possible. If Apple continues to play the politics of regulation as smartly as it currently does, the sky is the limit.”
Nick Smith, chief digital officer at John Ayling & Associates
“Apple’s long history as privacy champions has provided a noble marketing footing on which to give the public what they want.
“Conveniently what other players no longer get to see, Apple still does, and what is deemed Tracking for others is Personalisation for Apple.
“Apple will have to follow a delicate line, building on their $3tn size through their media business rather than building through media, and finding a balance versus their very public and long-standing privacy position – the two are compatible but will need to be handled carefully.”
Jonathan Harrison, digital and new business lead at the7stars
“I think it’s a distinct possibility that Apple’s stock growth continues, albeit with advertising as a small contributing factor. Relatively speaking, Apple’s advertising revenue is a fraction of their overall, current estimates of $5bn would put it as just over 1% of their total revenue for 2021. The question will be how much Apple is willing to focus on their advertising product outside of the app store, especially when they preach so strongly for consumer privacy.
“In their favour is the control they’ve given themselves, with privacy features significantly restricting the tracking and targeting capabilities of their main competitors (Google, Facebook etc.) across Apple devices. The danger here of course is if advertisers choose to negatively target iOS devices because of their lack of tracking.
“Opening opportunities for advertisers across Apple TV+, or even the long awaited VR headset, could be an exciting area for brands in 2022 – but advertising growth will only come here if they’re willing to devalue the user experience, something Apple has been firmly against with Apple Music in the past.”