When it comes to Apple, it's up and down. For some time, analysts and technicians have demonstrated an unpleasant ability to see encouraging news about the company through a pessimistic lens. In addition, it is amazing that these same people – who have the task of keeping an eye on Apple than anyone else – are continually watching important calculations while issuing reports that lack a shade of nuance or relevant context. Nowhere was this dynamic more obvious than in the investor's setback, Apple received after it was announced that it would no longer release quarterly sales of iPhone, Mac and iPad devices.
Many analysts quickly proclaimed that Apple had something to hide with respect to iPhone sales, not to mention that Apple's strategy here is not different from any number of competitors that keep such information confidential. Yet so many on Apple's decision as a sign that the company is uncertain of the future success of the iconic smartphone. After all, the reasoning went, if Apple was sure iPhone sales were ready to increase, would not these numbers make public? However, the question is even misleading and completely ignored by the fact that Apple has done exactly what analysts and industry observers have been demanding for years: prepare for a world without major iPhone update patches.
For years, pundits have exclaimed that we have reached the top iPhone. If anything, the feeling has almost become a bit of a joke at this point. For years, we have been flooded with reports claiming that the iPhone has nowhere to go but down. Now is it possible that in 2018 we have finally reached the top iPhone? Of course, but making such sweeping statements without seeing yourself how Apple's 2018 iPhone setup is done during the busy holiday trade season seems obviously absurd. It also seems to be short-sighted given the imminent roll out of 5G iPhones in the not too distant future.
But let's suppose for the sake of the argument that the iPhone has actually peaked. Would this be a big concern when Apple has shown an unrivaled adeptness to increase profitability even in the face of stagnant iPhone sales growth? Apple's last quarter of September provides a perfect case study in this regard.
Consider this: iPhone sales a year were essentially unchanged in the September quarter. Revenues from iPhone, however, jumped by a steady 29% year after year due to the costly – and more margin-friendly – iPhone X. It's an amazingly amazing achievement that analysts and pundits seem to ignore.
Simply put, analysts and pundits in recent years lambasted Apple for not having a after-iPhone success plan. Well, in 2018, Apple has shown that it can not only survive with flat iPhone sales, but actually thrives.
The numbers simply do not lie.
Apple sold in September quarter 2016 46.5 million iPhones. In September quarter 2018, iPhone sales of 46.8 million units checked, a rather insignificant difference. And yet, Apple's quarterly revenue over the two-year timeframe skyrocketed by more than $ 5 billion.
Drop it in.
In 2018, Apple is seeing an income of $ 5 billion compared to the company's 2016 September quarter. iPhone sales remain essentially the same. All in all, both turnover and profit have reached full-time levels for the quarter. Simply put, Apple is still finding a way to generate boatloads of cash while continuously posting record quarters with impressive consistency.
Should this not be considered a positive rather than a negative? The reality is that Apple today is more rounded a company than it was a few years ago. And yet, analysts are still enamored with iPhone device sales exclusively because it gives them a simple, and without a doubt lazy and outdated, way of measuring the state of Apple's business.
Apple's impressive financial success in this regard can be traced back to Apple Watch and the company's emerging services division. During the last quarter, Apple generated $ 9.9 billion in revenue from services, a broad category that encapsulates revenue from services like the App Store and Apple Music. To get $ 9.9 billion in perspective, Netflix has generated revenues of $ 4 billion in the same period, that is, Apple's services already generate more than twice as much money as Netflix.
Similarly, revenue from Apple's "Second Product Category – a division that includes Apple Watch – jumped 31% to $ 4.24 billion, again a renewal of Netflix's quarterly revenue.
Due to longer update cycles, pundits have for one said that Apple is too proud of the iPhone and needs to find new revenue streams or at least generates more revenue per iPhone device sold. Without exaggeration, Apple has done exactly that and now the same experts and analysts suddenly become hyperfocused on iPhone device sales. Usually Apple is cursed if they do and damn if they do not.
Apple has done is nothing small. It squeezes more money out of iPhone than ever before and the growing wear and tear and service company grows fast enough to hurt the company's balance.
Is Apple ready for a life beyond iPhone? That question has already been answered.