Apple sells its billionth iPhone

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced to his employees today that the company had recently sold its billionth iPhone. Tim had some unsurprisingly flowery things to say about the iPhone, claiming that the handset is "one of the most important, world-changing, and successful products in history." Heady words, but he probably isn't wrong. Steve Jobs famously described the iPhone as "an iPod with touch controls, a mobile phone, and an Internet communications device", and Apple's little three-in-one hand-held computer is commonly credited with the proliferation of the modern smartphone.

Tim also subtly acknowledged the competition in his remarks. "We never set out to make the most, but we've always set out to make the best products," said the CEO this morning. Sales of handsets featuring Google's Android operating system hit 1.4 billion by September of last year, according to Google. The comparison isn't really fair, because there are a bewildering array of Android devices at all price points, while the iPhone was (until recently) a single device at a premium price. In the light of that, the iPhone's landmark is all the more impressive. Either way, congratulations to Apple on its achievement.

Comments closed
    • WaltC
    • 4 years ago

    You know a company is in trouble when they start spewing numbers…like McDonald’s, for instance, having served a billion or two more burgers than Apple has served iPhones. Fruit of the loom having served several billion more pairs of underwear than Apple’s served iPhones (except FotL isn’t in trouble and so isn’t tossing out numbers)–and Microsoft, of course, having served 200M copies of Win8 in the first six months–350M copies of Win10 the first year, etc.

    Beware strangers bearing numbers that have nothing to do with P&L…;)

      • Buub
      • 4 years ago

      Don’t think that’s an accurate measure of “trouble”. McDonald’s has had signs with how many hamburgers served since I was a kid, and that was a LONG time ago. In fact, they don’t really do that anymore, and their product is arguably worse now than it was back then.

      The Ivory Tower campus (space ship in Apple’s case, terrarium globe in Amazon’s case) index, where when a company builds itself an iconic office space as a monument to itself indicates it’s on the down-trend, is a more accurate measure IMHO. And with the Space Ship campus, Apple is building that in spades.

      • DPete27
      • 4 years ago

      Yeah. Don’t celebrate achievements. Get back to work.

      • sparkman
      • 4 years ago

      Right, the company that just sold a billion smartphones at an obscene profit is in real “trouble”.

    • cmrcmk
    • 4 years ago

    The real winner here is ARM. Not only do they get a royalty from every iDevice sold, but they likely get more than one in most mobile devices. I’d be curious to know how many ARM-based chips were sold annually before and after the smartphone went mainstream.

      • tipoo
      • 4 years ago

      For as huge of an impact as they have, it often surprises me how small they are in both employee count and profit. After the buyout I wonder if Softbank will push them for higher margins, and what that’ll do to the smartphone industry.

    • sweatshopking
    • 4 years ago

    BUT THOSE MASSIVE DROPS YOY IN BASICALLY EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT HAVE GOT TO HURT. IM SURE CELEBRATING SECOND PLACE IS THE BEST WAY TO SPIN THE IPHONE.

      • tanker27
      • 4 years ago

      AT LEAST THEY’RE NOT CELEBRATING EXTREME FRAGMENTATION WITHIN THEIR PRODUCT LINES.

      • Buub
      • 4 years ago

      Second best is not accurate. Sure, if you want to talk market share numbers. But if you want to talk profit, they are squarely in first place. Even selling fewer devices, they make more money than all of Android combined.

      • blastdoor
      • 4 years ago

      I gave you a thumbs up because those massive drops do hurt and they are a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

      I like apple products. I like the company. I like Tim Cook. I want the company and cook to succeed. But facts are facts.

    • Meadows
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]"The comparison isn't really fair, because there are a bewildering array of Android devices at all price points, while the iPhone was (until recently) a single device at a premium price."[/quote<] A single device? Since when? We're on the 6th iteration of the design and the later ones have had more and more flavours available.

    • Generic
    • 4 years ago

    ♫ If you havin’ mobile problems I feel bad for you son ♫
    ♪ I got a billion problems, but an iPhone ain’t one ♪

    • Lans
    • 4 years ago

    There is no special prize for buyer for that iphone? I guess I watch too many movies? 😀

      • ThatStupidCat
      • 4 years ago

      Free iPhone upgrades for life or a free t-shirt?

    • anotherengineer
    • 4 years ago

    I wonder how many of them are in landfill now??

      • JosiahBradley
      • 4 years ago

      Also that would be a good statistic to measure, when you sell a billion things under planned obsolescence you only really should account for current devices activated. I wonder how long the average iPhone user versus Android phone user keeps his/her phone around before throwing it away (recycling it of course).

        • DrCR
        • 4 years ago

        Perhaps as long as supported by the latest iOS version (or perhaps longer, particularly for iPads and iPods).

          • Buub
          • 4 years ago

          Which, arguably, works in Apple’s favor. They do a pretty stellar job of keeping older devices running on current or semi-current versions of their iOS for a very long time. The upgrade story is much more sane than the Android universe.

          All tech ends up in the landfill (or being disassembled in China/India) — there’s nothing Apple-specific in that statement.

        • heinsj24
        • 4 years ago

        I just had to remove an original iphone from my AT&T account, only when they, AT&T, stopped supporting the device (they supported it for years after the first emails went out saying support was ending). I would have replaced it with a 3GS, but that things battery kind of exploded.

        Was never all that concerned about iOS support on that phone. Really miss the 4×3 display on both devices.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      If you add the ipods and ipads, I wonder if that makes two billion non-replaceable batteries.

      It’s apple’s fault that those things exist, because everyone else copied Apple, citing “but Apple does it” as their excuse.

      • tanker27
      • 4 years ago

      Apple’s recycling is probably the best out of all tech companies. But the crux to this is you have to return the device to Apple and that means possibly going out of your way to do that if you dont have a store near by. However, they have made it easier, [url<]http://www.apple.com/recycling/[/url<] , just fill out a little online form and they will send you a prepaid box to ship back to them. They also have a Trade-in/upgrade program. The pay it is probably middle of the road when it comes to doing this. Often you can get better from Best Buy, ATT, Verizon, etc.

        • anotherengineer
        • 4 years ago

        Ahhh cool. No Apple store in this neck of the woods. Is that specific to the US or does Apple honor that world wide?

        Edit – [url<]http://oem.srsapp.com/applepoweredbysims/[/url<] no idevices on that list

          • tanker27
          • 4 years ago

          Select the type of Device. e.g. MP3 Player for iPod.

          Also I am pretty sure if you go through Apple it is worldwide.

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    Meh, that’s only about 3.52 iPhones sold per second over the last 9 years or so.

      • raddude9
      • 4 years ago

      Would you be impressed if they used Intel processors?

    • Vaughn
    • 4 years ago

    If only jobs was around to see it.

      • egon
      • 4 years ago

      Pity [url=http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-should-pull-the-plug-on-the-iphone<]Dvorak[/url<] is.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    …but can it run crysis?

      • tsk
      • 4 years ago

      Yes, yes it can.

    • Stochastic
    • 4 years ago

    The question now becomes whether Apple can create another billion+ device category or if the iPhone was a one-off. Time will tell.

      • homerdog
      • 4 years ago

      iPad? And the iPod before it?

    • JosiahBradley
    • 4 years ago

    Saying it’s not fair that Android has sold more units but is disjoint is like saying copies of windows 10 can’t be bunched because they run on so many different hardware platforms. Android is an OS the iPhone is an entire platform itself. Each have their merits but comparing sales isn’t as easy as Apple wants to make it.

      • Buub
      • 4 years ago

      While I agree with you in principle, that is not how it’s most frequently framed.

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      The fact that it is it’s own platform is entirely arbitrary though. It mostly runs using industry an standard ISA and hardware (with the exception of whatever tweaks they do top their A chips). There’s no reason their hardware couldn’t run Android or their software easily be ported to some other hardware.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 4 years ago

    And first comment. Sup?

      • RAGEPRO
      • 4 years ago

      Ah, y’know. Same stuff different day. ‘sup with you, Bro?

        • Fonbu
        • 4 years ago

        1,000,000,000 things

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 4 years ago

        suh dude?

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