updated 11:23 am EDT, Fri April 25, 2014
Already up to $2.75 billion for fiscal 2014
In the March quarter, research and development costs at Apple grew $303 million year-over-year to $1.42 billion, notes AppleInsider. As a percentage of net sales that represents an increase from 2.6 percent to 3.1 percent. During FY2014, Apple has already spent over $2.75 billion on R&D, versus $2.13 billion in the same six months last year.
Apple's 10-Q filing with the SEC explains the jump as "driven primarily by an increase in headcount and related expenses to support expanded R&D activities," and "directly related to timely development of new and enhanced products." While those phrases could describe Apple at virtually any point in the past decade, this year Apple is believed to be launching an entirely new product category in the form of the iWatch. Many of its hires have come from medical and fitness sectors, suggesting that the iWatch will be heavily geared towards health tracking.