Apple's R&D soars to $6B in 2014; global cash reserves at $155B

In its latest SEC filing, the iPhone and iPad saw massive growth across the board, with the exception of one. One that actually helped get the company where it is today.

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Image: Apple via CNET

Apple's had a busy year, which, now as we're approaching the end of it, now we know why.

In the company's latest 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Apple disclosed to the federal regulators numerical nuggets it's obligated to provide each year. 

Here's what we learned:

Research and development (R&D) shot up over the year to a little over $6 billion, up by 35 percent from 2013. Between 2012 and 2013, Apple ramped up its R&D efforts by 32 percent, so the year-over-year change may seem grand, but it's only slightly higher than the company's previous figures.

In the filing, Apple said the year-over-year growth and expense was "driven primarily by an increase in headcount and related expenses," including machinery and equipment to support its activities. 

Digital music sales were a drag on the company's iTunes, Software & Services unit, the up-and-coming star of Apple's wider online portfolio. Net sales were up 10 percent in 2014 to $18.06 billion, driven by app sales and the increased growth in the iPhone and iPad install base.

But, these gains were "partially offset by a decline in sales of digital music." In earlier remarks, Apple said digital content services have faced "significant competition from other companies promoting their own digital music and content products and services," including free peer-to-peer music and video services.

Apple's cash reserves stood at $155.24 billion at the end of 2014, up about 5 percent from $146.7 billion. As per usual, the company keeps the vast majority of this outside the U.S., helping it to avoid massive amounts of U.S. corporation tax. It also uses this vast cash pile to invest in local markets.

Other numerical nuggets from the 10-K:

  • Apple had 92,600 full-time and equivalent employees, up 15 percent from last year

  • Capital expenditures to rise to $13 billion in 2015, up nearly 20 percent in 2014, with $600 million of that increased sum to go towards kitting out new retail stores. The rest goes on datacenter costs and existing bills.

  • Apple now owns or leases 19.7 million square-feet of office space, up slightly to accommodate the new corporate hires.

  • 25 new retail stores expected to open by the end of 2015, with the vast majority being built outside the U.S.

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