What’s propelling Apple to record quarterly sales?
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
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 , 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 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.
Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF
As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.
The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”
It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.
“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”
The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”
Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.
“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”