The Financial Times reports today that Apple's spending on research and development leapt by a third in the past year, reaching its highest level relative to revenues since 2007, the year the iPhone was released.
The increase in investment in new product development came in the run-up to what Apple's executives have called its best range of hardware, software and services in decades, including the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay, its new mobile wallet.
Key among its research initiatives has been the Apple Watch, its first new device since the iPad in 2010, which is slated for release early next year.
In its annual report published on Monday, Apple said R&D costs in its 2014 financial year were $6bn, or 3.3 per cent of revenues, up from $4.5bn last year, at 2.6 per cent of revenues. That matches the 3.3 per cent of revenues that Apple put into R&D in 2007, although in absolute terms its research budget has grown more than sevenfold in the seven years since its breakthrough iPhone went on sale.
The latest figures mark a 76 per cent increase from 2012, when Apple's R&D spending was $3.4bn, which at 2.1 per cent marked a recent low point relative to sales. For more on this, see the Financial Times report.