When Apple announces its results for the most recent quarter later today, analysts, investors and the media will be particularly interested in one number: the number of iPhones Apple managed to sell.
It's been eight years since Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone to the public and it has never been more important to the company’s success. In the past quarter, the iPhone accounted for a stunning 69 percent of Apple’s revenue and presumably for a similar if not larger share of its blockbuster profits.
In retrospect, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus couldn’t have arrived at a better time for Apple. Just when sales were beginning to slow down and people started questioning Apple’s dependence on the iPhone, the large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus reignited growth and helped Apple post two record-breaking quarters in a row. As long as the company can sustain its current momentum in the smartphone market, its results will be fine and investors will be satisfied. However, as soon as iPhone sales start to show any signs of slowing down again, the mood among Apple’s shareholders could quickly turn sour.
This chart illustrates Apple's growing dependence on the iPhone.
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