Jan 8, 2020

Apple says its software business is booming

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Apple on Wednesday said that its services business, which includes software for things like news, gaming, apps, music and video, had its best ever year in 2019.

Why it matters: Apple has been focusing on growing its services business as iPhone sales have drooped.

  • “2019 was the biggest year for Services in Apple’s history. We introduced several exciting new experiences for our customers, all while setting the standard for user privacy and security,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services in a statement.

Backdrop: 2019 was a transformative year for Apple's services business. The tech giant introduced a gaming service called Apple Arcade, a subscription video service called Apple TV+, a subscription news app called Apple News+ and a credit card called Apple Card. It also expanded some of its older software services, like Apple Music and its App Store.

By the numbers: In an effort to showcase its growth to investors, Apple released a slew of engagement numbers for several of its services products. It says:

  • Apple News has over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada.
  • Apple Music now offers over 60 million songs in 115 countries. 
  • Apple Arcade offers users access to a catalog of 100+ new, exclusive games.
  • Apple Podcasts offers over 800,000 shows in 155 countries.
  • Apple Card and Apple Pay are accepted in more than 150 stadiums, ballparks, arenas and entertainment venues.

Yes, but: The company notably did not offer subscription numbers for some of its newer services like Apple TV+, which launched in November with mixed reviews, and Apple Arcade, which launched in September.

Go deeper: Apple pivots to media as iPhone sales fall



Go deeper

Apple's stance on iCloud encryption keys is nothing new for the company

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Apple has come under fire this week for holding onto encryption keys to iCloud backups, which let it provide law enforcement with access to users' data even while the company is refusing to unlock iPhones for the FBI, as in the current standoff over the Pensacola shooter's phone.

The state of play: Apple's practice is nothing new — and it's not a sign the company is capitulating to law enforcement in the encryption debate.

Go deeperArrowJan 23, 2020

China looms large in Apple's earnings report amid coronavirus outbreak

Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

China figured prominently throughout Apple's earnings report on Tuesday, helping fuel the company's record holiday quarter, but also playing a role in the uncertainty hanging over the current quarter.

Why it matters: Apple is the latest company to flag that China's coronavirus outbreak could harm near-term business.

Go deeperArrowJan 29, 2020

Apple shares surge after it posts record holiday sales

Photo: Apple

Buoyed by strong iPhone sales and a growing services business, Apple reported record quarterly revenue and profits that were well ahead of estimates and its own forecasts. Apple also projected revenue for the current quarter ahead of many analysts' expectations, sending shares higher.

Why it matters: The October-to-December quarter includes the all-important holiday shopping season, and Apple's results show the resiliency of its business.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020