Apple spent $2.9 billion in its third fiscal quarter on R&D. That's a 15% increase year over year while revenue increased 7% for the same period. Over the trailing 12 months, R&D spending totaled $11.2 billion or about 5% of revenue. Apple hasn't spent that portion of revenue on R&D since 2004, three years before the original iPhone was launched.
That suggests other big things on the horizon, though what exactly is anyone’s guess. Apple only claims “an increase in headcount-related expenses to support expanded R&D activities” in its quarterly filing. The company is widely reported to be working on projects related to self-driving cars, health-care monitoring and augmented reality, to name just a few.
Notably, Apple's R&D spending is still less than rivals Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet. Currently, the rumor mill has Apple potentially working on a self-driving electric car and augmented reality Apple Glasses.
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