Apple's remarkable success in iTunes and its App Stores bears striking similarity to another example of a platform developer investing in its own ecosystem: transit Value Capture. App Store Value Capture has changed the game for Apple, and is now fueling a faster rate of revenue growth for the company than all of its hardware segments combined.
Despite making the hardware business look easy, Apple hasn't always been incredibly successful in introducing new devices. But comparing its biggest hits with its worst misses helps to isolate a secret sauce that is driving demand for the company's products globally.
Analyst Gene Munster sees Apple Pay as an increasingly important part of Apple's services category, which has enjoyed record-breaking growth over the past few quarters, estimating the payment solution now has 253 million users worldwide.
Apple is reportedly mulling a subscription bundle that incorporates the company's existing services, namely Apple Music and products sold through the News platform, with a slate of original TV shows widely rumored to be in production.
The continued impact of the iPhone X has expectedly reverberated into Apple's second financial quarter of 2017 an interesting one — but not quite how analysts thought they would. The changes over time are best illustrated graphically, showing the magnitude of the quarter, as compared to the same quarter from of years past.
Apple posted $9.19 billion in services revenue over the course of its second fiscal quarter of 2018, a figure up 31 percent year-over-year. The massive uptick doubles services revenue recorded just four years ago.
Apple now has a customer base of more than 250 million paid subscriptions across its Services offerings of Apple Music, iCloud and App Store continuing payments. Viewed against Amazon's recent announcement of 100 million Prime members, that figure is substantial. But Apple is also adding around 30 million new subscriptions every quarter.
As part of folding the Texture "Netflix for magazines" service into its own products, Apple appears poised to fire up a premium subscription offering integrating curated news to continue to grow services revenue.
Apple's services business is booming, and it could serve to offset reported softness in demand for the iPhone X, as well as smooth out the valleys in seasonal earnings drops expected to arrive this quarter.
Last year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook suggested the company's "Services" business could grow to the size of a Fortune 100 company within 2017. After the company's second fiscal quarter of 2017, Apple's steadily growing Services business — encompassing Apple Music, the App Store and more — is well on the way to matching Cook's prediction.