updated 10:30 pm EDT, Thu June 30, 2011
Recurring average spent on hardware
Asymco's Horace Dediu has put together a combination of published numbers and confident assumptions about hardware replacement cycles -- not app or third-party accessory sales -- to work out that Mac users are worth about $250 per year on average to Apple, while iOS users -- who outnumber Mac users roughly four to one and pay Apple far less for their equipment -- are worth around $150 per year, every year.
Dediu comes to his conclusions based on the known quantities of active Mac users and and active iOS users, which number 54 million and 180 million respectively. Although both Mac sales and iOS sales are accelerating, he says it took Apple five and half years to sell 54 million new Macs, establishing an "average life cycle" for the machines of 5.5 years, and a total revenue over that period of $73.8 billion, leading to an average of $250 per Mac owner.
Dediu assumes that iOS devices are replaced about every 3.5 years (200 million devices sold to 180 million owners over that time period), meaning that thanks to their larger numbers and shorter "cycle" each iOS owner is worth an average of $150 per owner. If one assumes the customers are generally satisfied, he says, they will spend this average amount on hardware every year indefinitely, and it can be assumed that each new user will do the same.
This allows Dediu to project out how much each of the two platforms will add to revenues as each platform expands. For example, when Mac growth gets to the point where there are 100 million users, one can assume that the additional users will add $25 billion per year to the company's coffers. Likewise, a growth to 500 million iOS users would generate $74 billion each year in additional revenue. Neither hypothesis is likely to happen in the short-term, but gives investors a reasonable footing for assumptions about Apple's future, and this is before any new products that might attract further new customers are added to the mix.
Dediu says that the additional growth, if achieved, would give Apple a potential recurring income of $95 billion per year based on just the existing product lines. Currently, he says, that figure is about $40 billion per year. [via Asymco]