The number of Apple users could jump to more than 600 million by the end of the year. If correct, this would be an increase of 40 percent year over year, according to CNET.
According to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Hubert, Apple currently ranks second behind Facebook in terms of total users. Following growth of 55 percent in 2012, Apple’s user base stands at 500 million.
On average, each account holder spends $329, “leading to free cash flow of $95 per person.” This is much higher than the cash flow generated by Facebook, eBay, and Amazon.
Apple’s advantage over other hardware platforms is its ecosystem, which creates ‘stickiness’ and opens new revenue streams. New services, like mobile payments, video, streaming music, or ad exchange, can help monetize Apple’s user base. One of the opportunities is mobile payments, where Apple can leverage its large user base, secure platform, and acquired AuthenTec technology.