Apple Inc just released their Q1 holiday earnings and the numbers are astounding—they are so megametrically high that nobody knows how exactly to approach them. Love Apple or hate them, it is irrefutable that the sheer scale of the numbers they put out are so astronomical they must command respect—respect for the numbers that is, not necessarily the company.
The scientific community loves comparisons. It allows people to take something obscure, like massive numbers, and contextualize them. It’s not so clear that $46.33 billion is the same as $46,330,000,000 or equivalent to working at minimum wage for 661,102 years (over three times longer than the existence of the human race).
So, why $46.33 billion? Apple reported $46.33 billion in revenue with a net profit of $13.06 billion (4th highest of any publicly traded company. Ever). Their market cap (a good estimate of a company’s public net worth) soared over $400 billion in after hours trading, and they have $97.6 billion in cash or cash equivalents. Apple sold 37.04 million iPhones (meaning that just people who bought iPhones in the last 14 weeks could secede from their respective homelands and form the 34th largest country in the world), 14.42 million iPads, 5.2 million macs and 15.4 million iPods. It can’t be denied that Tim Cook is an operational and supply-chain wizard.
Again, I just want to focus on $46.33 billion because that’s a hard enough number to understand, let alone comprehend forming in 14 weeks. Put any bias to the side because it’s really only the numbers, one number, that matters.
$46.33 billion in 14 weeks breaks down to $3.3 billion per week, $473 million per day, $19.7 million per hour, $328,000 per minute or $5470 per second. At that rate, it took 20 days for Apple to make enough money to buy the ten most expensive sports teams. Or, 37 seconds to make enough money to pay for a student’s 4-year degree from a private college or university.
Apple’s Revenue of $46.33 billion dollars, is slightly more than the Gross Domestic Product of Azerbaijan (75th highest GDP at $46.13 billion).
The annual federal spending on Energy and Science and Technology pulls in at $43.24 billion—3.09 billion less than Apple’s Q1 revenue; a difference approximately equal to Oprah Winfrey’s net worth.
If you take academia’s second, third, and sixth highest endowments from Yale, Princeton and MIT, they add up to $46.31 billion — 20 million shy of Apple’s 14 week revenue.
Let’s get belligerent. Cost of Spanish American War, American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican American War and the total cost of the Manhattan Project? $39.77 billion. Enough difference to give every American citizen $20 and pay the postage on it.
$46.33 billion is enough to pay for every 18-year-old American to earn a two-year degree at a community college; enough to run and operate Wikipedia for 2500 years; and enough to buy out George Lucas, Ralph Lauren, Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg, JK Rowling, Donald Trump, Bruce Wayne (fictional estimated net worth) and still have enough left over to buy out the five wealthiest rappers combined.
It’s an absolutely jaw dropping amount of money. Enough to make a chain of dollar bills that wrap around the earth 185 times or to make a stack of bills 3146 miles high—imagine a pile of money as tall as the United States is wide. Yeah.
A obscene, dirty, monstrously ludicrous sum of money—all earned in 14 weeks.