It was six years ago today that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) co-founder Steve Jobs passed away after losing a very public battle with pancreatic cancer. In the years since Jobs' untimely death, CEO Tim Cook has made his mark on Apple in numerous ways, including transforming it into a much more shareholder-friendly company that communicates better with investors and returns copious amounts of capital through share buybacks and dividends.
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Cook tweeted out a remembrance this morning for his former friend and colleague.
Remembering Steve today. Still with us, still inspiring us. "Make something wonderful, and put it out there." pic.twitter.com/7aOCPkwU0U— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 5, 2017
Where Apple was when Jobs died
It's mind-boggling to realize that the last iPhone that Jobs ever saw released was the iPhone 4s running iOS 5. You can't help but wonder what Jobs would think of all the products Apple has unveiled since then -- especially iPhone X, which was introduced at the theater named in his honor -- even as there were reports that he left the company with a four-year product pipeline. Design chief Jony Ive recently said that Apple has wanted to make an iPhone that is "all display" for over a decade, which would include Jobs' vision for the device.
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Financially speaking, at the time of Jobs' death, Apple had generated $108.2 billion in trailing-12-month (TTM) revenue, posted TTM net income of $25.9 billion, and sold 72.3 million iPhones over the prior four quarters. The company had $81.6 billion in total cash on the balance sheet and no debt (Apple only started taking on debt in 2013 in order to fund its capital return program without having to repatriate overseas cash). The Mac maker's market cap was $351.5 billion.
How far Apple has come
If we fast-forward to today, Apple currently has a TTM revenue base of $223.5 billion, profited $46.7 billion in TTM net income, and shipped an incredible 215.6 million iPhones on a TTM basis. Apple now has $261.5 billion in total cash, or $165.2 billion in net cash after backing out all debt. That's after returning nearly $223 billion to investors -- nearly two-thirds of Apple's entire market cap at the time of Jobs' death. Apple has since become the most valuable company in the world, and now commands a market cap of $800 billion. The company would be worth even more if it hadn't retired 1.35 billion shares through buybacks since then.
In fact, if Apple hadn't retired those shares, its market cap would be over $1 trillion by now at current prices. (It's debatable whether or not shares would have climbed this much without those highly accretive buybacks, which have helped drive EPS growth.) Here are six charts that show how various operating metrics have performed since Jobs' passing, starting in Q4 2011.
Revenue has skyrocketed.
As has net income.
The company now has over a quarter trillion dollars in cash sitting on the books.
Apple has approached 80 million in quarterly iPhone unit sales on several occasions.
Greater China has become increasingly important to the business.
Services revenue is also becoming a growth driver, which is a high-margin business and less susceptible to seasonality.
It's been six good years for investors, as shares have gained 188% since Jobs' passing. Apple will always miss Jobs, but the company itself will always be known as Jobs' greatest product.
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Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.