Jan 28, 2021

What’s propelling Apple to record quarterly sales?

Apple
Q1
iPhone
covid-19
William Smith
2 min
What are the factors ensuring Apple keeps breaking records despite a difficult, pandemic-affected year
What are the factors ensuring Apple keeps breaking records despite a difficult, pandemic-affected year...

Apple has announced record results for the first quarter of the 2021 financial year. 

The company said that it had achieved an all-time record revenue of $111.4bn, up 21% year-over-year. Apple’s strength overseas, in places such as China, meant that international sales represented 64% of the quarter’s revenue, up from 61% in the same quarter last year.

What are the factors ensuring records are being broken despite a difficult, pandemic-affected year?

Tech thrives despite COVID-19

Despite struggling at the start of the pandemic with supply issues and the total closure of the vital chinese pandemic, as the dust settled there’s been an undeniable tech boom caused by COVID-19.

The news, for instance, comes on the back of the release of Apple’s latest iPhone 12 range of phones, with iPhone revenue as a whole reaching $65.6bn - up 17% year-over-year. Apple’s total install base of iPhones has reached an all-time high of one billion, to boot.

In a press release, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “This quarter for Apple wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless and innovative work of every Apple team member worldwide. We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season. We are also focused on how we can help the communities we’re a part of build back strongly and equitably, through efforts like our Racial Equity and Justice Initiative as well as our multi-year commitment to invest $350 billion throughout the United States.”

Success across the board

In an earnings call with investors, Cook went on to say “We grew strong double digits in each of our product categories, with all-time records for iPhone, Wearables, Home and Accessories and services as well as a December quarter record for Mac. We also achieved double-digit growth and new all-time records in each of our five geographic segments and in the vast majority of countries that we track.”

Beyond hardware, another factor driving Apple to new heights waas its burgeoning services sector, which also grew 24% year-over-year, reaching $15.8bn. That part of Apple’s business has received renewed impetus in recent times - with the launch of AppleTV+ heralding its entrance into the streaming sector.

(Image: Apple)

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

AWS
NASCAR
3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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