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Apple's record income makes it richer than most countries

An iPhone and money.

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Apple's billions upon billions in revenue is large enough to make it more valuable than most countries. Here's how Apple compares to the entire world's financial stage.

By nearly any financial measure, Apple is a big deal. In January, it became the world's first company to reach a market cap of $3 trillion, but while it has slipped down to $2.25 trillion as of October 9, that's still an extremely impressive figure.

Arguably just as impressive is Apple's revenue during its quarterly reports, with it repeatedly setting new records for revenue. Analysts may have mixed results about Apple narrowly missing expectations at times, but normal people are still impressed that the revenue is reported in billions and not millions.

With Apple a goliath of the marketplace and continuing to see success, it's worth remembering that those billions Apple brings in can be more than what some countries can generate.

Apple's financials put some nations to shame. And, we're not even including debt for Apple or nations in question — which would move Apple even further up the list.

Why Q3?

The figures being used are based on Apple's most recent quarterly results, namely the third quarter of 2022, announced in July. We'll be using the quarterly figures in our analysis rather than other higher quarters for a few good reasons.

For a start, they really are the latest figures to work from. Apple does have results inbound at the end of October, but these are what's available at this time.

Secondly, the Q3 results are not Apple's best in the year. With high seasonality of sales, the Q3 results are usually the lowest-performing of the financial year, or a very close second place.

It would be a lot more impressive to use Q1 results, since they are typically considerably higher than Q3. For example, Q1 2022 saw Apple report $123.9 billion in revenue, roughly 50% more than either Q3 2021 and Q3 2022's figures.

Using Q3's figures demonstrates how Apple can perform in its "off-season" results. If those figures are impressive, one can only imagine how sky-high Q1 results measure up under the same analysis.

In some cases, we will use a full year of data for the comparison, which we will count as Q4 2021 to Q3 2022.

Country-level Revenue

To determine how big Apple's revenue is, we will be using the International Monetary Fund's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures covering the year of 2021. The GDP measures the size of a country's economy, including the market value of goods and services produced and sold.

The IMF's figures are based on an annual GDP measured in billions of U.S. dollars, and are downloadable from its Datamapper service.

In Q3 2022, Apple reported revenue of $82.959 billion in the period. If counted as a country, Apple's quarterly figure would be in 70th place, behind the $83.6 billion of Oman and ahead of Sri Lanka's $82.5 billion.

Of course, this is a quarter-to-annual comparison, so a full-year comparison is also needed.

Apple's quarterly revenue and net profit.
Apple's quarterly revenue and net profit.

Apple's last four quarters reported revenue of $387.5 billion. On the IMF GDP list, Apple would qualify in at position 39, beating Malaysia ($372.7B) and just behind the Philippines ($393.6B) and Denmark ($395.7B).

In theory, Apple's not far away from toppling a few big names on the list, including Egypt (35th, $402.8B) and the UAE (34th, $409.9B). However, it is miles away from worrying the biggest economies.

The lowest trillion-dollar GDP on the list is the Netherlands (18th, $1,018.7B), while you have to beat Korea's $1,798.5B to take its tenth-place spot.

Continuing the country-level theme, Apple's Q3 gross margin of $35.9B would put it in 99th place ahead of Sudan ($35.151B) and behind Estionia (98th, $36.3B). The annual gross margin of $167.9B slots in between Algeria (58th, 164.6B) and Qatar (57th, $179.6B).

The quarter's net profit of $19.4B would be ahead of 117th Mali ($19.2B) and behind 116th Brunei ($19.9B). Annually, the $99.6B would beat Ethiopia (65th, $99.3B) and rest behind Ecuador (64th, $106.2B).

Apple's quarterly R&D costs.
Apple's quarterly R&D costs.

Apple's research and development spending has gradually swelled, and in Q2 2022 reached $6.8 billion. Thats enough to beat 152nd place Montenegro ($5.8B).

Over the last four quarters, Apple spent $25.2 billion on R&D, which is more than the GDP of Bosnia and Herzegovina (111nd, $22.4B) and not far off 110th place Iceland ($25.5B).

iPhone alone is bigger than Bolivia

On a product-by-product basis, the iPhone continues to be the biggest contributor to Apple's bottom line, but others are still seeing considerable growth. There are often comments made during results that each arm can be a massive-level company in its own right.

In Q3, Apple reported $40.665B in iPhone revenue, which would put it between Bolivia (94th, $39.8B) and Uganda (93rd, $42.5B). The four-quarter sales total of $201.7B puts iPhone in the same region as Iraq (53rd, $209.5B) and 2021 Ukraine (54th, $198.3B).

The Services arm's steady growth reached $19.6B in Q3, which again is between Brunei and Mali. The four-quarter total of $77.2B is between Bulgaria (71th, $80.3B) and Ghana (72nd, $76.4B)

Apple's unit revenue per quarter.
Apple's unit revenue per quarter.

Wearables, Home, and Accessories hauled $8.08B in Q3, sandwiching between Togo (150th, $8.4B) and Guyana (151st, $7.6B). Over the four quarters, earning $40.4B equates to more than Bolivia and just behind Uganda again.

Both iPad and Mac managed similar Q3 revenues of $7.22B and $7.38B, which is just behind Somalia (151st, $7.39B). For four quarters, the iPad's $30.4B beats Macao SAR (103rd, $29.9B), and the Mac's $37.8B beats Estonia (98th, $36.3B) but not quite Paraguay (97th, $38.3B).

Apple as a person

While Apple can take on countries with its finances, it can also claim quite a few scalps when put against billionaires. Apple CEO Tim Cook managed to get to 1,513 place in Forbes' Richest people in the World list with $2 billion, but Apple itself can go a lot further.

At $82.96 billion, Apple's Q3 would be just outside the top 10, beating 12th-place Michael Bloomberg ($82 billion). The last four quarters combined at $387.5 billion would outpace Elon Musk's $219B top position, and it almost beats the combined $390B fortunes of Musk and second-place Jeff Bezos ($171B).

The Q3 gross margin slots Apple in at 37th place behind Giovanni Ferrero at $36.2B, with the four-quarter total bumping Apple up to third, between Bezos and Bernard Arnault & Family ($158B), and above both Bill Gates (4th, $129B) and Apple-favoring investment sage Warren Buffet (5th, $118B).

Apple's Q3 net profit would be 84th, beating the $19 billion of Reinhold Wuerth and family. The four-quarter version would slot Apple in between Larry Ellison (8th, $106B) and Steve Ballmer (9th, $91.4B).

And, of course, this is one quarter, or four quarters, of Apple wealth generation versus the net worth of the people in question. A true net worth comparison would easily be in the trillion-dollar-company's favor.