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

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  • Reply 61 of 72
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,471member

    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.


     


    But their $900 million has a higher return than those movies do....

     

  • Reply 62 of 72


    how much is that compared to their competition?

  • Reply 63 of 72
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post


    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.



    Agree.


     


    And it would be interesting to see how much was spent on R&D if any in: PC (PhotoCopying), RE, (Reverse Engineering), PR (Patent Research), PI (Patent Infringement), PL (Patent Lawyering), CS (Corporate Spying) all for the purpose of taking Apple down; not just for making it better as the Intel's, AMD's do.


     


    One has to wonder what the percentages would be if every company spent as much time, effort and monies on replicating Apple's insistence in quality, service and support for virtually everything they undertake and that includes manufacturing, packaging, distribution, etc.

  • Reply 64 of 72
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,144member
    middleguy wrote: »
    Apple should spend more money on R&D. 2% is too small. It should be minimum 5%.

    That's an absurd comment. You're picking a number out of a hat. Why 5%? Why not 4, or 6?

    A company does the R&D it needs to advance its products and position. I'd like Apple to some advanced basic research similar to what I'VE and HP does, not that they can afford it. But if they don't see a use for it, why would they?

    However, Cooks statement in the company memo did say that their semiconductor group was working on advanced designs. That takes a lot of expensive R&D.
  • Reply 65 of 72

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post





    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.


    No worries mate, no apologies needed.  I have no problem with people disagreeing with me; at least you backed it up with reasoning.  


     


    At least I learned now what Faustian means lol.

  • Reply 66 of 72
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Kr00 View Post


     


     


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





    You gather correctly.  image


     


    I'm a wordy old fart who's gleefully wasting all the next gen's electrons as I see fit while I can still type and get my almost-nobody-pays-attention opinions out in front of a few eyes in a world where (for the moment) you're free to scroll on.  Read or don't.  My satisfaction's in trying to distill what I've concluded from watching Apple since Woz' first motherboard.

  • Reply 67 of 72
    bigpics wrote: »
    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 won't address all of your points but a couple of things.
    1) You seem to assert that more money = more innovation and I completely disagree. In fact, more money could cause Apple to lose focus on what direction to develop its current and future products. I am of the belief that more restrictions actually causes more creative thought to work around those restrictions. Apple is known for simplicity and while it takes a lot of work and brainpower to develop that simplicity, I don't think it necessarily requires huge amounts of cash.
    2) You asserted that android has now become more polished and developed than iOS. I could not disagree more. Android's UI is awful (IMO of course). Scrolling isn't as smooth and touch responsiveness is slower than iOS as well.
    3) I also disagree with your assessment of the appletv. For one, appletv does have apps. It simply doesn't have an app store. Apple chooses which apps to add based on content agreements. Apple has also closed that gap between what people want (an app store on the device) and how it envisions the device with AirPlay mirroring. Anything you can play on your idevice (an now your apple computer) can be seen and interacted with on your television. This new feature didn't just pop up ex nihilo but was developed via R&D.
  • Reply 68 of 72
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member


    Quote:



    Originally Posted by freckledbruh View Post





    I won't address all of your points but a couple of things.

    1) You seem to assert that more money = more innovation and I completely disagree. In fact, more money could cause Apple to lose focus on what direction to develop its current and future products. I am of the belief that more restrictions actually causes more creative thought to work around those restrictions. Apple is known for simplicity and while it takes a lot of work and brainpower to develop that simplicity, I don't think it necessarily requires huge amounts of cash.

    2) You asserted that android has now become more polished and developed than iOS. I could not disagree more. Android's UI is awful (IMO of course). Scrolling isn't as smooth and touch responsiveness is slower than iOS as well.

    3) I also disagree with your assessment of the appletv. For one, appletv does have apps. It simply doesn't have an app store. Apple chooses which apps to add based on content agreements. Apple has also closed that gap between what people want (an app store on the device) and how it envisions the device with AirPlay mirroring. Anything you can play on your idevice (an now your apple computer) can be seen and interacted with on your television. This new feature didn't just pop up ex nihilo but was developed via R&D.


    1. I made no such assertion - and in fact pointed to examples of how throwing money down holes has accomplished little in many cases.  And explicitly pointed out that the key would be in how any increased investments were targeted and managed. 


     


    However, there is a scale here, where an R&D budget of $0.00 will not result in any fully developed new and innovative products and the tipping point at which too much becomes counterproductive.  And I believe Apple can, and now will, under Cook, be increasing Apple's relative R&D budget.  And will do so for at least of number of the reasons I cited (and others, surely) that apply to where the company's at and the current competitive landscape.


     


    Count coup on me again if you remember if I turn out to be wrong, but I'll bet Apple's R&D will continue to ramp up at least at this rate for the foreseeable future. 


     


    2. Again, I said no such thing, rather that Android, starting from far behind (and still behind) has seemed to be making a faster rate of progress in recent releases.  But of course they have many more messes to clean up since they began with a slap-dash efforts and paid no attention to the IP rights of others in the process, which is why MS makes money on Android IP fees and Google makes nothing.  But since you mentioned it, there are some features in Android not in iOS that aren't half bad (and others that are all bad, like susceptibility to malware).


     


    3. And you know what I meant by apps for Apple TV - not just portals to 3rd party entertainment content.  I've seen hundreds of posts here calling for these.  And at times when your other iDevice and Mac may be otherwise employed and/or elsewhere.


     


    Quote:


    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


     


    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?



     


    1. The first thing I pointed out was my total lack of credentials, other than following Apple since its inception.  No bones about that at all.  Just an "anonymous" guy with a life-long hobby of following science and tech. 


     


    2. "Any value" of anything anyone says here is in the mind of the beholder.  I have an opinion.  And a nose.  And an asshole.  Just like most forum posters. 


     


    And why, pray tell, using your basis for criticism, should I think your critique of mine has any value either?  Do we now have to trot out our resumes and CV's before posting here?  Are most degrees and jobs in the industry the criteria for who's "right"?  Most tech press experience?  Most posts on AI?  Also what makes you less anonymous than anyone else here? 


     


    Quote:


    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post



    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.



    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.


     


    What none taking me to task - and in other posts on the article - has addressed is this:


     


    At the heart of the matter, what this, yes, "incredibly experienced management team" (and more kudos to 'em) now lacks is what I called variously its "visionary-in-chief" and "disruptor-in-chief."  Tim, Jony and Phil, etc. - while all hugely skilled at what they do - have never revolutionized any of the above on their own, rather they've effectively fleshed out, given shape to, managed the manufacturing and component sourcing for, made tactical and strategic acquisitions and marketed the revolutionary devices and systems.



    I'm sure they - and many others - had lots of ideas and input into the revolutions, but they didn't come up with 'em - nor drive them from concept to realization against headwinds (as the pirate Mac skunkworks run by Jobs did, against the rest of even Apple itself at the time, let alone the tech industry as a whole).  Or even if they did, they didn't then honcho them into being. 


     


    The current team definitely still has the challenge of proving they can conceive, execute and usher in the next disruptive revolution.



    Oh, and I, and most of the tech press, do see things happening which aren't simply copies of things Apple does.  And some (both emerging and yet to be invented) may catch on....  ...Apple employs a tiny proportion of the executives, engineers, managers, designers, coders, scientists, etc. active in the field.  And not all the others are anything like stupid or lacking in imagination. 



    So I (anonymously/publicly) re-assert:  Apple's continued pre-eminence is not assured unless they buckle down, work their asses off, and find people who can continue to "revolutionize." 


     


    They won't be overtaken in a year or three or likely even five, but after that they may be in an environment of much greater challenge.  And dealing with that challenge will likely involve some significant spending, whether it's done wisely and succeeds or not. 

  • Reply 69 of 72
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,454member
    Steve's input was probably free and sadly that might explain the need for an increase.
  • Reply 70 of 72

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bigpics View Post


    Quote:


    1. I made no such assertion - and in fact pointed to examples of how throwing money down holes has accomplished little in many cases.  And explicitly pointed out that the key would be in how any increased investments were targeted and managed. 


     


    However, there is a scale here, where an R&D budget of $0.00 will not result in any fully developed new and innovative products and the tipping point at which too much becomes counterproductive.  And I believe Apple can, and now will, under Cook, be increasing Apple's relative R&D budget.  And will do so for at least of number of the reasons I cited (and others, surely) that apply to where the company's at and the current competitive landscape.


     


    Count coup on me again if you remember if I turn out to be wrong, but I'll bet Apple's R&D will continue to ramp up at least at this rate for the foreseeable future. 


     


    2. Again, I said no such thing, rather that Android, starting from far behind (and still behind) has seemed to be making a faster rate of progress in recent releases.  But of course they have many more messes to clean up since they began with a slap-dash efforts and paid no attention to the IP rights of others in the process, which is why MS makes money on Android IP fees and Google makes nothing.  But since you mentioned it, there are some features in Android not in iOS that aren't half bad (and others that are all bad, like susceptibility to malware).


     


    3. And you know what I meant by apps for Apple TV - not just portals to 3rd party entertainment content.  I've seen hundreds of posts here calling for these.  And at times when your other iDevice and Mac may be otherwise employed and/or elsewhere. 



    1) "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: "


    That quote above from your post seems to be asserting (or at the very least hinting) that if Apple spent more in R&D then it could pursue "more innovation."


    2) Your comment on Android did mention as an aside that Google was behind but you didn't say "far behind."  Also, I would assert that Butter and Fragments aren't all that innovative so much as yet another slap dash move to try and make it run better without addressing fundamental issues of the OS.


    3) Actually, I don't know what you mean by apps if you aren't talking about apps with content.  Do you mean Pages? Or Safari?  If so, I still disagree.  It's primary function is for Living Room entertainment and not to be a full fledged computer.  If you want that then again you use Airplay mirroring.  use the right tool for the right job.

  • Reply 71 of 72
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by freckledbruh View Post


    1) "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: "


    That quote above from your post seems to be asserting (or at the very least hinting) that if Apple spent more in R&D then it could pursue "more innovation."


    2) Your comment on Android did mention as an aside that Google was behind but you didn't say "far behind."  Also, I would assert that Butter and Fragments aren't all that innovative so much as yet another slap dash move to try and make it run better without addressing fundamental issues of the OS.


    3) Actually, I don't know what you mean by apps if you aren't talking about apps with content.  Do you mean Pages? Or Safari?  If so, I still disagree.  It's primary function is for Living Room entertainment and not to be a full fledged computer.  If you want that then again you use Airplay mirroring.  use the right tool for the right job.





    Can't pick many bones with you really - the other post got my dander up, but when you throw out a ton of prose you're bound to get deconstructed. 


     


    So just to clear up the apps thing, not the ATV as full-fledged computer, but a "more-fledged" iDevice that could run a class of apps that would work on a TV screen.... ...and not my idea in the first place, just something I know a number of folks want.  I never game, or rather, when asked my fave game, my answer is "Photoshop and Word," so not the right messenger for that message....  ....but some other classes of apps might work as well, tho' without your iPhone or pad present, how would you control 'em, so I withdraw that point altogether.



    Tho' I still wanna know who in the current top management team is gonna come up with the next great -  as in new ground-breaking - product Apple needs to keep growing at its current pace.  And I repeat these were the (terrific) guys who executed and supported the new visions, not the ones with the uncanny instincts to home in on what they were gonna be.   But I agree that R&D for the sake of R&D won't fill that gap either.



     

  • Reply 72 of 72
    Most patents today are not broad enough to be worth doing unless you have a team of attorneys to fight and defend it. So many engineers are smart enough to find the loopholes around certain patents nowadays and this is why we have so many products that are patented but many of them either look or function like each other.
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