It’s a straightforward title. Neck-deep in the struggling tech industry, Apple, one of the biggest players in said industry, shows no signs of shying away from spending, provided it goes to innovation. This new data, acquired by Finbold, says that Apple has apparently spent close to $100 billion USD on R&D from 2018 to 2022. Yearly spending has also spiked 84.33% from $14.24 billion to $26.25 billion.
The first question that may come to mind is what Apple is spending all that money on, but it’s worth noting that this type of spending isn’t new to the company. The tech giant’s core goal has always been to create disruptive forms of technology to gain a competitive advantage (i.e. smart phones, personal computers, smart home, streaming, etc.).
It is curious, however, that, in a time of tightening budgets and mass layoffs, the company has decided to increase its spending here. It’s also interesting to note that while the company has put a pause on its hiring like its competitors, that only applies to departments outside of R&D. There, hiring has continued in a move that seems to be diverting resources into more important operations.
To say that this is all to create a bombastic new product to capture the attention of consumers may be incorrect, though. The noteworthy outlier, the smart car, has only been brought up recently to manage consumer expectations, it seems—a reclarification of the release date here, a scaling back of features there.
No. It is far safer to assume that Apple is trying to play it safe themselves: investing in R&D to instead bolster their already successful products and services.
What Does This Mean for the Custom Integration Channel?
As mentioned above, Apple has a non-insignificant presence within the integration channel. Through offerings such as its HomeKit products and Apple TV, integrators working on the lower end of smart home budgets have likely come across some of these DIY solutions in a home. There’s also a strong likelihood that Apple TV+ has featured in projects dealing with streaming services.
Given the likelihood of Apple spending more on bolstering successful, existing products and services, it begs the question: do you think Apple would view these as successful? Successful enough to receive some competitive upgrades? We learned all too recently that seemingly popular and ever-present products (voice assistants) aren’t necessarily profitable to the standards of these bigger companies.
Google is perhaps the most forward about this aspect of the business. Consider the Stadia or Google Play Music, products and services that had a decent fanbase behind them but lost support because Google saw no growth in those areas—not to say that Apple’s decision-making follows Google’s under regular circumstances.
If Apple does view its smart home and streaming services as worthwhile investments, it’s likely some of that $20 billion could go into building out HomeKit and Apple TV to have a stronger presence in homes. There is even potential there for Apple to push for professional services, tapping into integrators directly as Google has been doing with the Nest Pro line of offerings.
This is all speculation, but it’s something that’s worth keeping an eye on given the brand loyalty Apple commands with many of its products. Time and time again the company has been able to make its mark on consumer electronics through its many design decisions over the years. Recently the company even had a major impact on the smart home market through its support of the new Matter protocol, paving the way for even more devices to be able to operate on the HomeKit ecosystem.
It’s speculation, but we can lean on the fact that given the company’s history, it’s likely it will continue to pour even more money into the refinement of its products as time pushes on.
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