Digital content. This includes revenue from Apple’s various content stores, including the App Store and iTunes. Apple Music is also included in this category. While Apple doesn’t disclose the total amount of revenue associated with selling digital content, the company has provided the amount paid to app developers on an annual basis. This data point makes it possible to derive the total amount of App Store revenue. In addition, Apple regularly discloses the number of paid Apple Music subscribers, which can be used to derive Apple Music revenue.
iCloud. Apple offers three tiers of additional iCloud storage (50GB, 200GB, and 2TB). Prices vary depending on the geography. The 200GB and 2TB storage tiers are eligible for family sharing. While Apple has not disclosed the number of users on a paid iCloud storage plan, management recently disclosed that iCloud revenue was up over 50% year-over-year to a record high, which implies good new user growth.
AppleCare. Apple sells a number of service and support options for its products.
Apple Pay. Apple earns a small percentage of every amount transacted through Apple Pay. Initial reports pegged this percentage at 0.15% for U.S. transactions. For every $100 of Apple Pay purchases in the U.S., Apple earns 15 cents. However, in the UK, Apple reportedly receives a smaller fee. Given Apple Pay’s prominence outside the U.S., a safe assumption is that Apple earns on average less than 0.15% of every Apple Pay transaction.
Licensing and other services. Apple earns revenue from third parties for offering their services as default options on Apple devices. One of the more well-known examples is Apple’s contract to have Google be the default search provider for Safari on Mac and iOS. Apple recently expanded its Google relationship to include Google for web searches via Siri and YouTube for video searches. Microsoft Bing remains the option for Siri image searches.
Estimating Services Revenue
Apple doesn’t disclose the amount of revenue generated by each Services category. However, after sifting through years of earnings call transcripts as well as recent news releases involving the App Store and Apple Music, it is possible to put together a few pieces of the Apple Services puzzle.
According to my estimates, Apple earns a majority of its Services revenue from delivering content to nearly a billion people using more than 1.3 billion Apple devices. In 2017, Apple earned an estimated $21 billion from selling digital content ranging from apps (especially games) to music and movies.
Back in January, Apple disclosed that it paid $26.5 billion to app developers in 2017. Apple keeps either 15% or 30% of app revenue, depending on the app and whether it is a subscription. This suggests that overall App Store revenue was approximately $37 billion. Since Apple reports App Store revenue on a net basis, recognizing only the commission it retains, the full $37 billion of App Store revenue is not reflected under Services. Instead, Apple reports just its $11 billion share of the revenue.
The remaining portion of Apple’s digital content revenue came from iTunes and Apple Music. Apple reports Apple Music revenue and some digital content sold through iTunes on a gross basis. This results in iTunes and Apple Music representing a large portion of Services revenue despite bringing in significantly less revenue than the App Store. In fact, iTunes and Apple Music likely contribute close to the same amount of Services revenue as the App Store.
Exhibit 4: Apple Services Revenue Mix (2017)