The iPhone wasn’t the only Apple gadget that got a holiday bump this Christmas. Between Dec. 20 and 27, the company's latest-generation Apple TV saw usage grow 44 percent, according to the latest metrics from analytics and marketing company AppLovin.
Between Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, usage of the streaming box rose about 36 percent. Since its release in October, the Apple TV has seen over a thousand apps hit its storefront. While streaming apps have mostly populated its top free apps list, games have largely populated the top paid apps category for the set-top box, according to Slide to Play.
AppLovin’s metrics are based on the number of ads viewed on hundreds of Apple TV apps that use the analytics company’s software development kit.
It’s still early in the life of the latest Apple TV, which went on sale in October. But during the December quarter, Apple is forecast to sell as many as 3 million units of the streaming box, accounting for just under $500 million in sales, or just under 1 percent of Apple's revenue in the period, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
It may be a drop in the bucket compared to the iPhone, which accounted for well over half of Apple’s revenue in 2015. But sales of Apple’s smartphone are predicted to slump for the first time next year, according to a research note issued by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. Part of the reason for this is a slowing global smartphone market, which is expected to come to a near halt at 1.2 percent growth for 2015, down from 27 percent last year, according to IDC.
To make up for the potential iPhone slowdown, Apple may tap its growing portfolio of services in 2016 to drive revenue. It has already started to get the ball rolling in that area in 2015 with its Apple Pay mobile payment system, iPhone installment plans and the launch of the Apple Music streaming service.
It also tried to do the same with Apple TV through a live television streaming service. But disagreements between Apple and media companies on plans to sell a small package of channels for $30 to $40 a month fell through, according to unnamed sources speaking to Bloomberg.