Apple's research and development expenses hit new highs this year, but continue to remain a sliver of how much it spends -- especially when stacked up to competitors.
According to Apple's annual report, which was filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission early Wednesday, the company spent nearly $4.5 billion on research and development. That's up about $1.1 billion, or 32 percent, from last year.
The higher expenditure is still a small number compared with the company's overall sales, which came in around 3 percent -- up a single percentage point from last year.
Apple remains one of the smallest R&D spenders compared with its peers. Microsoft, for instance, spent $10.4 billion, or 13 percent of the company's revenue, on research during its 2013 fiscal year, which ran through June. There's also Google, which has spent $5.8 billion so far this year (and $9.8 billion in all of 2012), as well as Samsung, which spent around $10.5 billion on R&D last year and which is currently building.
Perhaps a closer comparison is Amazon, which has spent $4.7 billion so far this year, already beyond the $4.6 billion it spent during all of last year.
This, though it's become a more interesting one as expectations rise for the company to release products in new categories -- like a watch and a television. Part of those plans also involves an expansion to its facilities as part of the upcoming headquarters revamp in Cupertino, Calif., which from local government earlier this month.
Apple's R&D spending wasn't the only thing to get a bump this year. Apple also:
- Spent $100 million more on advertising this year than last, racking up $1.1 billion in ads on newspapers, TV, online, and elsewhere;
- Hired 7,500 more employees during the year;
- Increased its stock repurchase spending from $10 billion to $60 billion.
You can read more about the whole year, which ran through September,.