Significant R&D increase suggests Apple is working on something big

Neil Cybart, writing for Above Avalon, takes you through Apple’s R&D numbers. In a nutshell, he starts by looking at Apple’s annual R&D spending, year after year. Next comes those same numbers as a percentage of annual revenue (a more meaningful number, since a simple increase in R&D expenditures is obvious given Apple’s incredible growth).

Finally, he digs into Apple’s year over year R&D spending:

A more relevant and informative way to analyze Apple’s R&D spend is to look at the actual dollar increase from year to year. This method is more sensible because Apple has a functional organizational structure with a culture based on placing few, but extremely large, product bets. There is little evidence to suggest that Apple has altered the way it approaches new product development and R&D expenditures. In the past, the bulk of Apple’s R&D program has been focused on specific projects and goals. This stands at contrast with a strategy of setting up a number of R&D labs with no clear directive other than to find future products. If Apple is spending R&D, it is a good bet they have a specific goal in mind for those dollars.

If this is all gobbledygook to you, just follow the link and check out Exhibit 3. You’ll see 3 modest curve bumps over the years, which represent the development of the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. These are followed by a more recent bulge in the year over year spending increase, much bigger than those earlier gentle bumps.

Something big is coming. Read the article for details, but love the analysis.