Apple’s services business is off to a hot start in 2021.
The tech giant’s services revenue topped $16.9 billion in the first quarter of the year, up from $13.3 billion a year ago. Services encompasses a wide range of Apple’s businesses, including Apple TV+, Apple Music, the App Store, iCloud and other software sales.
Apple CFO Luca Maestri told analysts on an earnings call that the company had “more than 660 million paid subscriptions” across its services division, including video music, news and games, and that its video, music, games and advertising businesses all had their best quarters yet.
Services is the company’s second biggest business unit, after the juggernaut that is the iPhone, with the Mac, iPad and wearables trailing behind. Apple as a whole had revenue of $89.6 billion in the quarter, up 54 percent year-over-year.
“This quarter reflects both the enduring ways our products have helped our users meet this moment in their own lives, as well as the optimism consumers seem to feel about better days ahead for all of us,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in a statement. “Apple is in a period of sweeping innovation across our product lineup, and we’re keeping focus on how we can help our teams and the communities where we work emerge from this pandemic into a better world. That certainly begins with products like the all-new iMac and iPad Pro, but it extends to efforts like the 8 gigawatts of new clean energy we’ll help bring onto the grid and our $430 billion investment in the United States over the next five years.”
That $430 billion investment also has implications for Apple’s entertainment aspirations. As part of that expansion, the company says it will expand its Culver City campus, which houses the Apple TV+ programming team, to more than 3,000 employees by 2026.
Apple TV+ still offers free introductory trials for buyers of new Apple products, and continues to expand its lineup of TV series and movies. In addition to its video, music and gaming products, Apple this past week unveiled a new podcast platform as well.
On the company’s earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the critical success of Ted Lasso. He also touted programming like upcoming projects from Malala Yousafzai and David Attenborough.
“Apple TV+ also continues to be a place where we can tell stories that matter, and lift up important stories and voices,” Cook said.