“In the fiscal year beginning in late September, Apple will generate over one-quarter trillion dollars in revenue and sell more than one-quarter billion iPhone handsets. In the upcoming December quarter the company will set yet another record for corporate profitability in a three-month period.”
I posted the above paragraph as a comment on a recent column by Philip Elmer-DeWitt about Apple’s upcoming September 9th event. The focus of Philip’s column, in my interpretation, is the incessant demands of Wall Street for sensational new products, “one more thing” surprises and almost Hollywood-style showmanship at every Apple special event. I concluded my comment by posting, “While some on Wall Street might want the likes of PT Barnum, most of us who buy Apple products and invest in the company’s stock prefer the steady hand of CEO Tim Cook.”
While millions of us may enjoy discussing, debating and speculating about what new products Apple might have under development or may announce during the company’s fairly regular product events, the company’s revenue over the past several years has been marked by an impressive and unbroken sequence of rising year-over-year quarterly growth. This has occurred without game show-style product introductions or fantastical claims about future product features and functionality.
Apple And The Long Arc Of Time
The graph below illustrates Apple’s revenue on a quarterly basis as far back as FQ1 2009. In that quarter recognized revenue was $11.880 billon. By comparison, in FQ1 2015 Apple’s recognized revenue was $74.599 billion or a greater than six-fold increase in revenue in the first quarter of the fiscal year over a six-year period of time. No wonder Apple’s CEO is fond of the term “long arc of time” when responding to analyst questions during the quarterly conference call with analysts. When Apple completes the current fiscal year near the end of September, the company will report a greater than five-fold increase in revenue over the same six-year period.
The corresponding EPS graph below illustrates an even more impressive outcome during this six-year period. Again using FQ1 2009 as the benchmark, Apple’s earnings per share in FQ1 2015 of $3.06 was 8.5 times greater than the split-adjusted $.36 in eps reported in FQ1 2009. While the company’s ongoing share repurchase program has diminished the fully diluted share used on a split-adjusted basis in this comparison, the company’s rising revenue has been the most substantial factor in the eps growth rate.