AAPLApple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during the 2020 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, June 22, 2020.Brooks Kraft | Apple Inc. via Reuters
Apple’s 38% gross margin was about as certain as death and taxes.
In its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday, Apple said that its gross margin — the percentage of revenue left after accounting for the cost of goods sold — jumped to 42.5%. In the prior period, the figure was 40%.
It’s the highest margin for Apple since 2012, when the company was less than half its current size. Between 2013 and 2020, the number hovered between 37% and 39%, more often than not sitting right at 38%, according to FactSet.
Apple, the most valuable company in the U.S., is squeezing more profit out of its business by getting buyers of its iPhones and iPads to spend more money on services like iTunes, Apple Music, Apple Pay and App Store purchases. In reporting better-than-expected sales and earnings figures for the quarter, Apple said the services business jumped 27% from a year earlier, while its services gross margin expanded to 70% from 65% last year at this time and 64% a year before that.
Canaccord Genuity analysts said in a report last week that Apple should generate higher margins as users of its 1.65 billion active devices snap up add-on software products.
“This growing base should consume increasing Apple services, helping drive faster growth for this high-margin business than the overall hardware business,” wrote the analysts, who recommend buying the stock.
Apple, which maintains a notoriously strong grip over its supply chain, is also getting stronger profits from its hardware sales. Its product margin jumped to 36% in the period from 30% a year earlier.
At least some of that increase comes from price hikes. The iPhone 12, which was announced in October, costs $100 more than the prior year’s baseline model. Analysts at Wedbush said that average selling prices have also moved higher for the more expensive iPhone Pro and Pro Max versions.
While iPhone sales move through cycles, software and services are more