Apple has reported record financial results for the quarter ending March 2021, with revenue growth of over 50% despite the challenging operating environment from Covid-19. There was broad-based success across its product portfolio, but iPhone sales continue to drive the company overall, accounting for 53% of its total business 14 years after the device first came to market.
The iPhone success should be taken as a positive sign for 5G handset sales more broadly in 2021 as vaccination rates rise, economic conditions improve and other handset manufacturers introduce new models. Consumer survey evidence from GSMA Intelligence suggests 5G upgrade intentions have increased over the last year by 4–10 percentage points to 35–40% in the US and Europe and even higher (50–60%) in China and South Korea. This should help mobile operators grow their 5G customer bases as network scale also increases.
Apple has also committed to large-scale investment of $430 billion over the next five years across a suite of technologies and jobs, including 5G and silicon manufacturing (a strategic move given the ongoing risk of chipset supply constraints), which should help catalyse a wave of innovation in product design and new uses for advanced mobile networks.