updated 11:29 am EDT, Wed October 30, 2013
Research fundamental to Apple business model
During its 2013 fiscal year, Apple's research and development expenses grew 32 percent year-over-year from $3.4 billion to $4.5 billion, according to an annual 10-K filing made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The company remarks that despite large increases during the past several years, R&D budgets have stayed consistent with net sales. It also mentions that costs have gone up because of a growing number of workers, and expenses related to expanded activities.
Research is critically important to Apple, even more so than most high-technology businesses. The company's reputation is built on attractive and innovative products, and to that end it has worked on increasingly thinner and lighter designs with more efficient circuitry. The company is also believed to have several new product types in the loop, including a smartwatch, and some form of TV product with a novel control scheme.