Apple sinking more money into R&D as spending rose $1B in 2012

13

Comments

  • Reply 41 of 72
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,854member
    Keep spending that R&D money Apple!! The Android and Samsungs in the world are depending on you to come up with the next "obvious" feature so they can put it in their products!!
  • Reply 42 of 72

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post


    Actually, latest estimates show Apple with 16.5% of the total worldwide mobile market.  If you count only smartphones, it hovers around 30%. Not shabby but still room for serious growth.  Samsung is still overall market share leader by a 2:1 margin.



     


    Thanks for the updates. I figured I was low on market share and I'm sure I'm low on the profit levels as well. Efficiency is a very difficult objective to achieve. Apple has done it in spades.

  • Reply 43 of 72
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member

    Quote:


    From the article:  "The massive increase in spending is likely the result of a multitude of new Apple products unveiled throughout the year."



    I don't know at what point the spending kicked in, but it might be at least as accurate to say "The multitude of new Apple products unveiled throughout the year is likely the result of a massive increase in spending." 


     


    Meanwhile, this has been something I've long pondered (as a wholly amateur ponderer, natch) and the two main lines of thought here seem to be roughly:


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MiddleGuy View Post


    Apple should spend more money on R&D. 2% is too small. It should be minimum 5%.



     


    and


     


                Quote:




    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post


     


    Yeah, because Apple should aim to hit some random percentage of their revenue, instead of spending exactly the amount of money that they need on R&D. I very much doubt they're skimping, but there's no point in simply burning more money for the hell of doing so. The amount of money spent on R&D shouldnt scale linearly with your profits, thats a little ridiculous. 



    There's some truth here, e.g., about "burning more money for the hell of it," but there's also an Apple-sees-all-knows-all assumption as well, i.e.  that there IS an exact of money that's exactly what's needed.   That all depends on a many factors and there's always more than one strategy that can work well for a company - especially one already on top its game and a clear market leader who have the luxury of exploring their options from that point, rather than one trying to make a hail Mary pass as they're fading away like RIM or Nokia. 


     


    I personally wanna see less mystique and boutique and more of Phil Schiller on the stage saying that as far as Apple's concerned it's "pedal to the metal" time with Apple kicking ass by revving their products as well and fast as they can. 



    Despite a certain amount of smugness endemic on these forums, there are lots of hungry competitors out there who have lots of talent and resources.  And Apple, like it or not, has not replaced their visionary-in-chief with anything resembling another.  Scott Forstall thought he was gonna be that guy, but if he is, it's gonna be somewhere else. Tim Cook can't supply chain the next vision if there is no vision. Ives can't execute a vision's design without one.  Etc. 


     


    If Apple's gonna be the current team working in corporate harmony as a Committee, R&D is also one way to keep innovation going, at least at the iterative level, and possibly the next "insanely great" idea is going to come out of the R&D pool.  Because for Apple to remain a (gigantic) growth company they have to have one.  Just staying on top of the current lines will lead to a leveling off as the segments become saturated.  For one thing, just like cars, new digital devices have much longer lifetimes than 20 years ago.  And for another, their usefulness remains relevant much longer despite all the new features and speed added.  My 8 year old iBook and iPod are both indispensable and sufficient for what I use them for, though I am planning to get a variety of new gadgets over the next two years.


     



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MiddleGuy View Post


     


    Intel spent 17% R&D spending, Qualcomm 21%, AMD 22%, TI 13%, Toshiba 16%, TSMC 8%, Samsung 8%,......... and Apple 2%. It's lame.



     


    Speaking of percentages of revenue spent, also, we know MS wastes a lot, but they and IBM (who I don't think wastes a lot, and re comments below, IBM is as much a services as hardware company), I think, are around 8%.  But percentages are only relevant as agreed already, if there's something useful to do with the money.  And can you seriously argue there isn't more innovation that Apple could be profitably pursuing?  I can't - I can see infinite horizons - and also, many ways in which Apple products - especially their software and cloud products - could be better than they are already.  Viz: 


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TokyoJimu View Post


    I hope all these recent changes mean better software quality. I have been disappointed in the increasing number of bugs in Apple software. iPhoto '11, for example, has been a non-stop disaster, and recent iTunes versions often take 30 minutes to sync my phone where it used to take less than three. I think they have been more interested in adding features than in making sure it all works. The decision to delay iTunes 11 is a good sign, as is this increase in R&D spending.


     


    Of course I always wondered how Microsoft could have 65,000 employees and still have so many bugs.


     


    P.S. I must say I use Siri all the time for dictation and have very few complaints, the main one being that the server just never responds way too often. But I now use Siri to dictate all my email and text messages on my phone, and to do simple search queries. iOS 6 Maps, on the other hand, are a disaster for me as a public transportation user.



     


    For two of my own small examples, iTunes on my Mac loads very slowly and is hardly peppy at any time while iTunes for Windows on my Vista tower (yes, I use both companies' products about equally for various reasons) takes about three times as long to load as my next slowest to load program (Photoshop) and the interface remains more sluggish than any other program I run after it opens.  And if Apple intended to keep the Mac Pro viable, whatever they bring out next year would have had a generation between it and the last released.  And their hobby (Apple TV) may be hobbled by not being able to cut deals with the content providers, but the hardware and OS itself could have evolved further by now, e.g., to include apps if nothing else.


     


    I know a new iTunes is imminent, and besides opening a better window on the soon near million apps, and other needed improvements, I do hope it also solves little - but highly annoying - details like showing the full names of podcasts one searches for.  I can't often tell if I'm subscribing to the large or compact version of a video cast because the words are cut off and a whole series of clicks becomes necessary just to get this info.  There are many UI glitches like these that have lingered in Apple's programs (and the OS) for year after year.  More eyes on smaller details could go a long way to alleviate things like this.



    And arguing that Siri, Maps and the new Final Cut Pro were not immature products at release that more (pre- and post-release) work on wouldn't help would be, as one poster noted (though in defending Apple's current approach), "asinine." 



    Finally, if Apple had (intelligently and diligently) ramped up R&D to double its current level, they would STILL have well over $100B sitting in their vaults which is currently used mainly as a cushion and a lever over the supply chain - and that would still certainly be enough for those purposes. 


     


     


    Quote:



    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post





    So the amount of money as a % of revenue is the only thing that matters? Samsung makes a gazillion products compared to Apples focus on a few products. And chip making is inherently expensive which explains Intel , Qualcomm and AMD spending more.

    Apple is also more profitable. If you run a highly efficient company you can make those R&D dollars go further. Judging based on % alone is asinine.



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by damage976 View Post



    All of those companies also make components, which they use as economies of scope. Therefore, it is more profitable to spend more on R&D, since they are selling their parts to Apple and other companies, whereas Apple is a buyer of components to make their products.


     


    In case no one's noticed, Apple IS now hip deep into the (highly research intensive) fabless fab business of chip design - and I understand they co-innovate a lot on bringing advanced manufacturing techniques into their assemblers' (and sometimes suppliers') operations.  Not to mention designing to coordinate with more mobile service providers than anyone else and working in more languages than any other company save, likely, MS and IBM.  They're also working simultaneously on a larger number of SKU's than at any time since Jobs trimmed them back to a precious few in the late '90's.  And are in more businesses by a fair number. 


     


    And again, iOS and Android and Win Phone 8 are targeted at different mind sets, but arguably Android's gained polish and capability at a faster rate than iOS in their last few revs (granting they had further to go), and Win 8 Phone - as part of an entirely new and lavishly funded new ecosystem tied to a brand that owns the Enterprise markets in many niches - will be a likely at least reasonable competitor.  I for one am open-minded about an iPad weight tablet that would give me full Office on the go, that it I can construct a good use case for it for myself (at least after the "Service Pack 1" or 2 iterations that MS roll-outs always require).  And people write off Amazon as a player at their peril - among others. 



    I also think Apple - as the company who first taught society to just point at and touch visual targets - is making a mistake (medium to long-term, not in 2013) if they continue to write off bringing touch capacity (as an option, not the primary method of interaction) to its notebook and desktops.  Yes I hear some of you screaming "NOOOO!" but I know there's times when I use keyboard shortcuts and times when I use the trackpad or mouse - and there's certainly places in my work flow when pointing at something on the screen would save me half a second many times a day over the other two.   Without having to grow massive triceps. 


     


    I also know it's early days and clumsy yet, but I am fascinated by the potential promise of a number of the new hybrid form factors over on the Win 8 side with all their folding and pivoting tablet/notebook tricks. And I have no use for that 20" whatever thing I saw on some site, but it looked cool enough that my gut tells me someone(s) will.  So this aspect is not Apple-esque, but "Apple-esque" is also a concept that will have to evolve as tech progresses.  Hopefully in the most elegant and best-implemented ways. 



    But there's no way Apple can rest on their laurels - especially in R&D - and expect, post the Great Disruptor's reign, to stay on at the front of the pack. 

  • Reply 44 of 72


     image  wow, all these billions spend on round corners.image

     

  • Reply 45 of 72


    How much was Apple spending a day when they revolutionalized the computer industry with the Apple II? How much R&D was spent on the first iPod (that went from concept to production in less than a year)?. Great ideas are usually not as expensive as bad ones, and when a company starts bragging about how much they are spending on R&D it usually means they are becoming more like M$.

  • Reply 46 of 72
    The photo caption says "Unique milling process creates a chamfer around the iPhone 5's perimeter." Anybody have any more details about what's "unique" in what Apple is doing? Chamfering in general is not an especially difficult task - when I was a machinist 40 years ago, we did it routinely. Getting the rounded corners consistently right would have been a challenge with the equipment we had back then, but with numerical-control machine tools, it should be a breeze.
  • Reply 47 of 72
    kr00kr00 Posts: 99member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MiddleGuy View Post


     


    Intel spent 17% R&D spending, Qualcomm 21%, AMD 22%, TI 13%, Toshiba 16%, TSMC 8%, Samsung 8%,......... and Apple 2%. It's lame.



    And who's leading that pack in profitability and value? Hmmmm. Perhaps Apple have the right formula, while others just waste money. Somehow I think Apple know what they are doing, and you just know how to troll.

  • Reply 48 of 72
    kr00kr00 Posts: 99member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hnorr View Post



    The photo caption says "Unique milling process creates a chamfer around the iPhone 5's perimeter." Anybody have any more details about what's "unique" in what Apple is doing? Chamfering in general is not an especially difficult task - when I was a machinist 40 years ago, we did it routinely. Getting the rounded corners consistently right would have been a challenge with the equipment we had back then, but with numerical-control machine tools, it should be a breeze.


    Somehow I don't think they're using 40 year old chamfering techniques on the iPhone. Why don't you google it and find out instead of being flippant and dismissive. Don't expect a phone call from Apple, asking for your "expert" help.

  • Reply 49 of 72
    kr00kr00 Posts: 99member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bigpics View Post


    I don't know at what point the spending kicked in, but it might be at least as accurate to say "The multitude of new Apple products unveiled throughout the year is likely the result of a massive increase in spending." 


     


    Meanwhile, this has been something I've long pondered (as a wholly amateur ponderer, natch) and the two main lines of thought here seem to be roughly:


     


     


    and


     


                Quote:


     


    Speaking of percentages of revenue spent, also, we know MS wastes a lot, but they and IBM (who I don't think wastes a lot, and re comments below, IBM is as much a services as hardware company), I think, are around 8%.  But percentages are only relevant as agreed already, if there's something useful to do with the money.  And can you seriously argue there isn't more innovation that Apple could be profitably pursuing?  I can't - I can see infinite horizons - and also, many ways in which Apple products - especially their software and cloud products - could be better than they are already.  Viz: 


     


     


    For two of my own small examples, iTunes on my Mac loads very slowly and is hardly peppy at any time while iTunes for Windows on my Vista tower (yes, I use both companies' products about equally for various reasons) takes about three times as long to load as my next slowest to load program (Photoshop) and the interface remains more sluggish than any other program I run after it opens.  And if Apple intended to keep the Mac Pro viable, whatever they bring out next year would have had a generation between it and the last released.  And their hobby (Apple TV) may be hobbled by not being able to cut deals with the content providers, but the hardware and OS itself could have evolved further by now, e.g., to include apps if nothing else.


     


    I know a new iTunes is imminent, and besides opening a better window on the soon near million apps, and other needed improvements, I do hope it also solves little - but highly annoying - details like showing the full names of podcasts one searches for.  I can't often tell if I'm subscribing to the large or compact version of a video cast because the words are cut off and a whole series of clicks becomes necessary just to get this info.  There are many UI glitches like these that have lingered in Apple's programs (and the OS) for year after year.  More eyes on smaller details could go a long way to alleviate things like this.



    And arguing that Siri, Maps and the new Final Cut Pro were not immature products at release that more (pre- and post-release) work on wouldn't help would be, as one poster noted (though in defending Apple's current approach), "asinine." 



    Finally, if Apple had (intelligently and diligently) ramped up R&D to double its current level, they would STILL have well over $100B sitting in their vaults which is currently used mainly as a cushion and a lever over the supply chain - and that would still certainly be enough for those purposes. 


     


     


    Quote:


     


    In case no one's noticed, Apple IS now hip deep into the (highly research intensive) fabless fab business of chip design - and I understand they co-innovate a lot on bringing advanced manufacturing techniques into their assemblers' (and sometimes suppliers') operations.  Not to mention designing to coordinate with more mobile service providers than anyone else and working in more languages than any other company save, likely, MS and IBM.  They're also working simultaneously on a larger number of SKU's than at any time since Jobs trimmed them back to a precious few in the late '90's.  And are in more businesses by a fair number. 


     


    And again, iOS and Android and Win Phone 8 are targeted at different mind sets, but arguably Android's gained polish and capability at a faster rate than iOS in their last few revs (granting they had further to go), and Win 8 Phone - as part of an entirely new and lavishly funded new ecosystem tied to a brand that owns the Enterprise markets in many niches - will be a likely at least reasonable competitor.  I for one am open-minded about an iPad weight tablet that would give me full Office on the go, that it I can construct a good use case for it for myself (at least after the "Service Pack 1" or 2 iterations that MS roll-outs always require).  And people write off Amazon as a player at their peril - among others. 



    I also think Apple - as the company who first taught society to just point at and touch visual targets - is making a mistake (medium to long-term, not in 2013) if they continue to write off bringing touch capacity (as an option, not the primary method of interaction) to its notebook and desktops.  Yes I hear some of you screaming "NOOOO!" but I know there's times when I use keyboard shortcuts and times when I use the trackpad or mouse - and there's certainly places in my work flow when pointing at something on the screen would save me half a second many times a day over the other two.   Without having to grow massive triceps. 


     


    I also know it's early days and clumsy yet, but I am fascinated by the potential promise of a number of the new hybrid form factors over on the Win 8 side with all their folding and pivoting tablet/notebook tricks. And I have no use for that 20" whatever thing I saw on some site, but it looked cool enough that my gut tells me someone(s) will.  So this aspect is not Apple-esque, but "Apple-esque" is also a concept that will have to evolve as tech progresses.  Hopefully in the most elegant and best-implemented ways. 



    But there's no way Apple can rest on their laurels - especially in R&D - and expect, post the Great Disruptor's reign, to stay on at the front of the pack. 



     


     


    I gather you don't know the meaning of brevity.

  • Reply 50 of 72

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MiddleGuy View Post


     


    Intel spent 17% R&D spending, Qualcomm 21%, AMD 22%, TI 13%, Toshiba 16%, TSMC 8%, Samsung 8%,......... and Apple 2%. It's lame.



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Kr00 View Post


    And who's leading that pack in profitability and value? Hmmmm. Perhaps Apple have the right formula, while others just waste money. Somehow I think Apple know what they are doing, and you just know how to troll.



     


    If you look at the following list of top ten tech companies granted patents in 2011, you'll see the sad state of Apple as the "most" profitable tech company and also the largest [by stock market value] in the patent world. Apple is not even in the top ten or even the top twenty, not to mention some of its granted patents have the potential to be nullified as well. It has been that way since forever. Apple broke the top 50 just in 2010. What do you expect from a company that spends only a meager percentage amount from its total expenditure for its R&D?


     


     


    image


     


    for a complete list you can go here.

  • Reply 51 of 72

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    That is almost 900 million a quarter. More than enough money to make three Hollywood block buster movies a quarter. These numbers are staggering.

    One problem I had with this is that R&D can be booth long term and short term. That is the money likely goes to immediate new products like IPad or iPhone and then a portion goes to longer term research. It is this longer term research that is most interesting and likely under very tight wraps. The next most likely product is the Mac Pro or its replacement. What they are working on for after that is where the potential new products are. I wouldn't be surprised to find something delivered early spring of next year.

    As to Apples spend rate, yes it is pathetic. I base this not on the percentage value but in the quality slippage we are seeing in some software. Also beyond thin I'm not seeing huge innovation on the desktop.


     


    The desktop is a mature market and actually shrinking. I'd bet Apple is looking forward to where the puck is headed... Where ever that may be?

  • Reply 52 of 72
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    kr00 wrote: »
    Somehow I don't think they're using 40 year old chamfering techniques on the iPhone. Why don't you google it and find out instead of being flippant and dismissive. Don't expect a phone call from Apple, asking for your "expert" help.

    He was not being flippant or dismissive, he had experience in the field and offered a fair coherent opinion. What is so special about a common machining procedure? Please explain your expertise that warranted being flippant and dismissive of him? Geesh.
  • Reply 53 of 72

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fireside View Post


     


     


    If you look at the following list of top ten tech companies granted patents in 2011, you'll see the sad state of Apple as the "most" profitable tech company and also the largest [by stock market value] in the patent world. Apple is not even in the top ten or even the top twenty, not to mention some of its granted patents have the potential to be nullified as well. It has been that way since forever. Apple broke the top 50 just in 2010. What do you expect from a company that spends only a meager percentage amount from its total expenditure for its R&D?


     


     


    image


     


    for a complete list you can go here.



     


    And yet all I hear around here is that Apple is like a patent troll for patenting every little thing they do... Now, you're kicking their butt for not being up there with Microsoft and Sony who are posting losses...

  • Reply 54 of 72
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    kr00 wrote: »
    And who's leading that pack in profitability and value? Hmmmm. Perhaps Apple have the right formula, while others just waste money. Somehow I think Apple know what they are doing, and you just know how to troll.

    As others have point out, just because you are on top today, does not inherently mean you will be tomorrow. That is a fair opinion. What should be done to maintain that lead? What spending will(if thats the proper question to ask)? The op was just pointing out relative to revenue what others are spending as the deem fit. Is it an accurate method? Not necessarily, as others have responded to with coherent answers. But, it does not make him a troll or justify name calling.
  • Reply 55 of 72

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


     


    And yet all I hear around here is that Apple is like a patent troll for patenting every little thing they do... Now, you're kicking their butt for not being up there with Microsoft and Sony who are posting losses...





    You said it right but the emphasis is on the word LITTLE, in your comment.

    So what drives the perception of Apple as being a patent troll is not the amount of patent they apply for but how insignificant they tend to be.

  • Reply 56 of 72

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


     


    The desktop is a mature market and actually shrinking. I'd bet Apple is looking forward to where the puck is headed... Where ever that may be?



    Think conceptually-aware computing with the use of wearable devices / sensors. (ie: Google Project Glass).  This is the holy grail of mobile computing. Here's an interesting read on it;


     


    https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/jEosChtNJp4


     


    Bob Mansfield is now in charge of Technologies Division at Apple, a first. This division is can definitely spearhead the R&D for initiatives like this.

  • Reply 57 of 72
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Kr00 View Post


     


     


    I gather you don't know the meaning of brevity.





    I gather you don't understand the meaning of 'pertinent', and probably many more big words that might tire you..

  • Reply 58 of 72
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    Think conceptually-aware computing with the use of wearable devices / sensors. (ie: Google Project Glass).  This is the holy grail of mobile computing. Here's an interesting read on it;

    https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/jEosChtNJp4

    Bob Mansfield is now in charge of Technologies Division at Apple, a first. This division is can definitely spearhead the R&D for initiatives like this.

    No, absolutely not.

    This context-aware business is being pursued as exactly that, a business. A vehicle for advertising and for leading you around like a numbered citizen. It is no Holy Grail, but a Faustian bargain with unholy forces. It is creepy. Apple will not develop it; Google will.

    Apple's direction with wearable computing will probably be centered on capture and display of the world as it is to you, not on how YOU are to be used. Think stereo photography and wearable strereo displays. Forget all intrusive advertising.

    Apologies Shameer, as much as I've agreed with you on other postings, this link you provided reeks of diabolical scheming against the first law of Jobsian computing—change the world for the better with your mind amplifiers.
  • Reply 59 of 72


    I don't think it is productive to compare R&D expenditures at different companies. What each company defines as R&D varies dramatically. The definition is dictated by the nature of a business as well as by accounting practices. For sure, R&D is not just about a bunch of people in lab coats inventing brand new technology. Nor does it include only a bunch coders writing the next version of the OS.

  • Reply 60 of 72
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    bigpics wrote: »
    Finally, if Apple had (intelligently and diligently) ramped up R&D to double its current level, they would STILL have well over $100B sitting in their vaults which is currently used mainly as a cushion and a lever over the supply chain - and that would still certainly be enough for those purposes. 

    That's not how R&D investment is determined. What evidence do you have that spending more money would benefit Apple and its stakeholders? Read "The Mythical Man Month" for starters.

    In particular, you are claiming that Apple should be spending more money on R&D than they do. On what basis do you make that claim? And why should anyone believe that you know more about Apple's optimum spending than Apple does?

    bigpics wrote: »
    There's some truth here, e.g., about "burning more money for the hell of it," but there's also an Apple-sees-all-knows-all assumption as well, i.e. that there IS an exact of money that's exactly what's needed. That all depends on a many factors and there's always more than one strategy that can work well for a company - especially one already on top its game and a clear market leader who have the luxury of exploring their options from that point, rather than one trying to make a hail Mary pass as they're fading away like RIM or Nokia.

    Let's see. Apple has an incredibly experienced management team. They have demonstrated for at least the last decade an amazing ability to revolutionize markets and provide enormous value not only to their customers but to their shareholders and employees, as well. In short, they have shown quite convincingly that they know what they're doing.

    OTOH, we have some anonymous poster on AI who thinks he knows more than Apple about how they should spend their money. No credentials. No comparable experience. No history of success (and certainly no success like Apple's).

    So why in the world would you think that your opinion on Apple's R&D expenditures has any value?
    fireside wrote: »

    If you look at the following list of top ten tech companies granted patents in 2011, you'll see the sad state of Apple as the "most" profitable tech company and also the largest [by stock market value] in the patent world. Apple is not even in the top ten or even the top twenty, not to mention some of its granted patents have the potential to be nullified as well. It has been that way since forever. Apple broke the top 50 just in 2010. What do you expect from a company that spends only a meager percentage amount from its total expenditure for its R&D?


    LL

    for a complete list you can go here.

    That might be relevant if innovation and return on R&D investment were solely a matter of the number of patents granted. It is not. For example, which is more valuable - a single patent which revolutionizes the world or 1,000 patents which have no value and never get implemented because they do not offer significant improvements over competing technologies?

    I would argue that rather an simply counting up the number of patents, a true measure of the value of their R&D investment is the result. And Apple has done very well there. WIth their "paltry" or "lame" 2% of revenues in R&D expenditures, they have:
    - Revolutionized the music player market
    - Revolutionized the music distribution market
    - Revolutionized the mobile phone business
    - Revolutionized the ultralight laptop market
    - Revolutionized the tablet market
    - Revolutionized the portable gaming market

    It's a pretty clear sign when the rest of the industry is clearly copying almost everything they do. Simply counting up the number of patents does NOT give that kind of analysis.
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