Have a look at this chart which I compiled after Apple’s recent quarterly earnings report:
Within less than four years, two previously non-existing product lines have taken over a good 60% of Apple’s revenue – approximately even 65% if we include the iPod touch that probably accounts for a large share of iPod revenue.
If the iPhone and iPad had not come, Apple’s revenue from fiscal Q2 2007 to Q2 2011 would have grown by a “mere” 119% instead of 466%. Astounding. I guess that’s the difference between constantly reinventing yourself and resting on your laurels.
Update April 30, 2011: Several readers have pointed out that I did not mention that the Mac platform probably profited considerably from a halo effect that iOS devices have had on Mac sales. And I agree: happy iPhone users are more likely to choose a Mac for their next computer. The effect is hard to quantify, though. I should also note that App Store revenues are part of the “Other” category in the chart.
Jim Thorpe speculates if the Macbooks’ unibody case is also a byproduct of the case design for the iOS devices:
Consider the steps that Apple took to begin the whole “aluminum unibody” trend: were those investments and advances all built from their long-standing iPad plans? Would the MacBook Pro be anything like they are today if the iPad/iPhone hadn’t existed?
Who knows? It’s an interesting thought.