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The iPhone was a ‘flop’… and look where Apple is now

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:56PM EST
iPhone Sales
Image: Apple Inc.

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What does success look like? Well, it looks exactly like the iPhone. I just can’t seem to get this ridiculously stupid CNN article from earlier this morning out of my head, and I did some digging as a result. In case you missed my tirade, a CNN reporter essentially asserted that the Apple Watch will be a flop because it won’t instantly represent a substantial portion of Apple’s revenue.

Ugh, indeed.

At the end of my post, I noted that the iPhone was obviously a flop as well in 2007, if one applies the same logic. So now, let’s see what that flop looks like today.

DON’T MISS: Here’s why the iPhone is better than Android

The chart above comes from Statista, and it shows quarterly iPhone sales for each fiscal quarter since the iPhone debuted in 2007.

In the third fiscal quarter of that year, when Apple first entered a new category and launched the original iPhone, sales were in the low hundreds of thousands. Meanwhile, Apple sold more than 9.8 million iPods that quarter. Also of note, Apple’s revenue totaled $5.41 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2007, and its net profit came in at $818 million. Apple’s new smartphone was barely a blip on the radar.

Clearly, the iPhone was a flop.

Imagine Apple had used the same logic as naysayers who might consider the Apple Watch a flop because it doesn’t instantly add double-digit billions to Apple’s bottom line. Imagine where the company would be today.

But here’s where the company actually is today: in the most recent fiscal quarter, Apple’s revenue climbed to $74.6 billion. It’s $18 billion quarterly net profit was the most profit any company has ever earned in a single quarter. Ever.

And it’s almost all thanks to the iPhone, which started as a huge “flop.”

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.