In the first quarter of Apple’s fiscal year 2007, the last quarter before Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone, Apple’s revenue amounted to $7.1 billion. Contributing $3.4 billion to that total, the iPod was Apple’s most important product back then. Now, eight years later, the iPod has been rendered all but obsolete as smartphones have taken over most music playback duties. Apple doesn’t even break out iPod sales anymore; instead they are buried in the “other products” category along with Apple TV which, as Steve Jobs once put it, is considered a mere hobby at Apple.
Meanwhile iPhone sales alone generated $51.2 billion in the most recent quarter, accounting for almost 70 percent of Apple’s total revenue in that period. Being considered Apple’s most profitable product, it is very likely that the iPhone also accounted for the lion’s share of the company’s record-breaking $18 billion profit over the last three months. It only took the iPhone eight years to evolve from what many considered an overpriced niche product to the planet’s biggest cash cow – an achievement that is unlikely to be repeated in the foreseeable future.