As a percentage of revenue, Apple’s R&D spending is the highest it’s ever been

As shown in Apple's SEC 8-K filing, Apple's R&D spending increased by over 25% year-over-year in its latest fiscal quarter to $2.56 billion. As a percentage of revenue (at 6%) it’s the highest it's ever been. It’s spent $7.5 billion on research for the year, and is on track to outpace last year’s spend, according to its earnings statement.

During a call with analysts and media reps about Apple’s latest financials, CEO Tim Cook was asked about the amount of R&D spending on new products rather than refining existing products. He wouldn't specify an exact number, he did state that there was "quite a bit" of investment in new products and services.

As noted by Quartz, Apple is now spending more on research than most major car companies, and only a little less than companies like Google and Facebook, “both of which are building drones, and working on other zany, expensive projects, like household robots, internet-beaming weather balloons, and virtual reality.” 

Much of that money is likely being spent on the much-rumored Apple Car. Apple is also likely investing heavily into virtual reality/augmented reality. 

“AR can be really great. And we’re—we have been and continue to invest a lot in this,” Cook said. “We are high on AR for the long run. We think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity.”

And, of course, hopefully a lot of that R&D money will also mean some really innovative Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs coming our way.