Why the end of unit sales reporting of Macs, iPhone, and iPad isn't bad news for Apple

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 54
    jungmark said:
    lkrupp said:
    Apple stock down 20% in the last 3 months. I’m all for Apple no longer providing unit sales data but if they’re going to stop providing it they need to come up with better metrics and a more compelling narrative. Otherwise the narrative becomes Apple stopped providing this data because they’re not growing and they won’t be able to raise prices to offset the lack of unit growth forever. How about Apple provide information on active install base and average revenue per user?
    Until they once again report record revenue and profit. Then no one will care anymore. Once more the requirements for Apple are different than that of its competitors. Samsung and Google don't report unit sales and that’s okay. We have no idea how many Galaxy S9s Samsung are selling. Apple does the same thing and it’s hiding something. Android fans like to call Apple fans sheep and lemmings. The true sheep and lemmings are the herds of investors that panic at the drop of the hat and it's not only AAPL. Wait for it because somebody is going to start the death spiral clock on Apple any day now.
    The problem is Apple was providing this information and now is not. I don’t remember Samsung or Google ever providing it. If Apple is going to stop providing unit sales because it’s not meaningful then provide something that is meaningful.
    Sammy did provide unit numbers for a bit. Google never did because it would be embarrassing for them. 

    Unit sales aren't meaningful. Apple provides revenue and profit numbers. 
    I think what you mean to say is unit sales aren’t meaningful when units aren’t growing anymore. Because Apple sure loved putting out press releases after every iPhone launch weekend boasting how many iPhones they sold. Now it’s being reported that Apple is offering an additional $100 in credit towards an XR or XS when you trade in an older device. If these phones were flying off the shelves why would Apple need to do that?
  • Reply 22 of 54

    jungmark said:

    melgross said:
    I don’t agree with this. It was a mistake for Apple to do this. We really don’t know the reason for it, no matter what some people may be writing, as though they have special knowledge, which they don’t.

    but if this isn’t to just hide declining sales numbers across several product lines, which the investment and reporting community believes it is, as it has been for other companies, then this was the worst time to have done it. Right at the time where Apple gave disappointing guidance for their biggest quarter of the year, which we were in when the guidance was given, that has lead many to think that Apple did this because of the modest guidance, and a poor start for the first month of the quarter.

    if that isn’t true, then Apple should have done it before, when their sales were very robust, and growing well. Then it couldn’t have been thought of as an attempt to hide disappointment.

    as a customer, and a long term investor in Apple, I look forwards to the quarterly numbers. One reason is to see how they did when compared to the estimates given by those firms that earn their living from it. But now, Apple won’t be able to rebut their often inaccurate numbers, which, more often than not, are below the actual numbers.

    so yes, I’m disappointed in this, and I haven’t seen a logical and good reason for them doing it.
    Wasn't Apple's guidance for another record breaking qtr? "Disappointing guidance" is not record breaking enough. Unit sales are fascinating but don't pay the bills. Investors should focus on revenue, earnings, and profit. 

    WS has proven they will make up numbers no matter if Apple gives unit sales. I think WS has been right once or twice in ten years. 
    https://9to5mac.com/2018/11/27/apple-iphone-trade-in-credit-promo/
  • Reply 23 of 54
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,796member
    lkrupp said:
    lkrupp said:
    Apple stock down 20% in the last 3 months. I’m all for Apple no longer providing unit sales data but if they’re going to stop providing it they need to come up with better metrics and a more compelling narrative. Otherwise the narrative becomes Apple stopped providing this data because they’re not growing and they won’t be able to raise prices to offset the lack of unit growth forever. How about Apple provide information on active install base and average revenue per user?
    Until they once again report record revenue and profit. Then no one will care anymore. Once more the requirements for Apple are different than that of its competitors. Samsung and Google don't report unit sales and that’s okay. We have no idea how many Galaxy S9s Samsung are selling. Apple does the same thing and it’s hiding something. Android fans like to call Apple fans sheep and lemmings. The true sheep and lemmings are the herds of investors that panic at the drop of the hat and it's not only AAPL. Wait for it because somebody is going to start the death spiral clock on Apple any day now.
    The problem is Apple was providing this information and now is not. I don’t remember Samsung or Google ever providing it. If Apple is going to stop providing unit sales because it’s not meaningful then provide something that is meaningful.
    They’ll provide the same information as Samsung or Google, namely income and profit, eps, you know, the usual stuff that investors need and is required by the SEC. In a few months no one will care how many iPhones are being sold as long as the income and profit numbers are good. You think Apple doesn’t know that iPhone sales will eventually plateau? You think Apple doesn’t know that they have to diversify their business model? Why else would Apple be hell bent on services these days? It’s the tech blogs and analysts that still think Apple’s life depends on iPhone sales and that without that Apple goes away quickly.
    If we look at the data we have to hand we can already conclude that iPhones might have plateaued. Of course, that in turn might also be one of the reasons Apple has now decided to stop reporting unit sales. For all the blustering about past failed analysis and projections, there is also the chance that, this year, those projections could actually be right.

    It's important to not lose sight of that.

    As for Singles' Day, it is just that - one day - and in this piece, from one vendor (Alibaba) with seemingly nothing to support it save for one report from CNBC which provided no way to verify the information (at least the last time I checked) and when I went through Alibaba's post event press releases I could find no trace of the reference either. What is clear though is that all numbers were revenue numbers and not unit numbers. Hardly surprising news then and puts the terms 'outsold' and 'demand' into some context. One day has very little weight as a minute snapshot that cannot even be verified (as far aa I can tell).

    From an investment perspective, true investors probably know full well that iPhone unit shipments could dip at some point but as long as iPhone dependency is being reduced and is balanced out by other revenue streams, any drop off in unit sales is far less dramatic than even just three years ago.

    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 24 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,697member
    melgross said:
    I don’t agree with this. It was a mistake for Apple to do this. We really don’t know the reason for it, no matter what some people may be writing, as though they have special knowledge, which they don’t.

    but if this isn’t to just hide declining sales numbers across several product lines, which the investment and reporting community believes it is, as it has been for other companies, then this was the worst time to have done it. Right at the time where Apple gave disappointing guidance for their biggest quarter of the year, which we were in when the guidance was given, that has lead many to think that Apple did this because of the modest guidance, and a poor start for the first month of the quarter.

    if that isn’t true, then Apple should have done it before, when their sales were very robust, and growing well. Then it couldn’t have been thought of as an attempt to hide disappointment.

    as a customer, and a long term investor in Apple, I look forwards to the quarterly numbers. One reason is to see how they did when compared to the estimates given by those firms that earn their living from it. But now, Apple won’t be able to rebut their often inaccurate numbers, which, more often than not, are below the actual numbers.

    so yes, I’m disappointed in this, and I haven’t seen a logical and good reason for them doing it.
    I’m surprised by your reaction, Mel.  I’m down $500k from the top and I think you’re down $6 million, but the facts are different from your characterization. 

    A few of us for years have been hoping Apple would stop reporting unit sales, precisely to take the focus off them and for exactly the reason Apple indicated; because a unit of iPhone sales or Mac sales is less relavent to the business results than it used to be.  As painful as this transition is, that’s a fact.  Apple is diversifying with new products and services (Watch, AirPods, HomePod, Apple Music, etc) while also adjusting prices higher, to maintain gross margins and  to reflect higher R&D expenditures and the resulting more sophisticated technology it’s delivering to customers,  

    You suggest this is the worst time to make this change and then suggest the best time would have been when sales were very robust.  Mel, sales were VERY robust the last four quarters, so Apple made the change exactly as you would have wanted.  Plus, the forecast for this quarter is some $7-9 billion above last year’s holiday quarter, so again, Apple is taking the focus off unit sales just at the time you’d like them to, it seems.  At a time when sales are robust and forecasts are projecting additional growth in sales.  I fail to see the disconnect between what you think would be the ideal timing and the actual context within which Apple announced the change.  

    As to Apple not being able to rebut the often inaccurate unit sales estimates, don’t you see that it will become futile to even make such estimates in the future, at least none that anyone will bother listening to, for the very fact that there will be no actual unit sales numbers reported by Apple to which the estimates can eventually be compared.  Analysts pushing unit sales numbers will increasing feel foolish shouting into a vacuum.  
    I can’t agree. iPhones are still about 60% of sales. Macs and iPads together are about 20% I believe. Other sales of goods are another 10%, or so. Most of the rest is services at about 17%. So, no matter how you look at the numbers, physical sales of hardware is the vast part of Apple still. Those do t add up because I’m not looking up the actual numbers.

    i don’t agree that sales are robust. They’re ok. But ok isn’t what drives the market or the stock. If, several years ago, when the 6 series came out, and sales went up by 49% that year, Apple could have done this with no downside. But now, with questions all around, it’s a bad time.

    i’m not selling my stock. In fact I just told my wife, who sold her parents home recently, to buy Apple stock now, and not worry if it goes lower, because I have long term confidence that this will sort out. But, overall, this lack of transparency will hold things back. People I talk to in the financial community believe that the stock dived 20 points because of this alone, and that it’s hindering an attempt to come back.

    one thing the financial community liked about Apple was that while they weren’t willing to answer the usual questions about non existent product possibilities, and wouldn’t give guidance beyond the next quarter, they did give a fairly decent amount of information about sales. Sussful companies have little to fear about giving that information, while companies that aren’t doing well hoard that information.

    those that give sales estimates based on sometimes dubious sources will continue to do so. The problem is that now those estimates can’t be counterbalanced by actual numbers from Apple. Is Samsung really selling as many phones as estimated? We don’t know. Same thing with others. And now we won’t know how many Apple is selling either. It will be easier for companies such as Gardner and IDG to come up with numbers that remain unchallenged. That’s not a good thing. Apple used to be known as an island of stability, now they’re not. Now, every rumor will have more weight.
    edited November 2018 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 25 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,697member

    jungmark said:

    melgross said:
    I don’t agree with this. It was a mistake for Apple to do this. We really don’t know the reason for it, no matter what some people may be writing, as though they have special knowledge, which they don’t.

    but if this isn’t to just hide declining sales numbers across several product lines, which the investment and reporting community believes it is, as it has been for other companies, then this was the worst time to have done it. Right at the time where Apple gave disappointing guidance for their biggest quarter of the year, which we were in when the guidance was given, that has lead many to think that Apple did this because of the modest guidance, and a poor start for the first month of the quarter.

    if that isn’t true, then Apple should have done it before, when their sales were very robust, and growing well. Then it couldn’t have been thought of as an attempt to hide disappointment.

    as a customer, and a long term investor in Apple, I look forwards to the quarterly numbers. One reason is to see how they did when compared to the estimates given by those firms that earn their living from it. But now, Apple won’t be able to rebut their often inaccurate numbers, which, more often than not, are below the actual numbers.

    so yes, I’m disappointed in this, and I haven’t seen a logical and good reason for them doing it.
    Wasn't Apple's guidance for another record breaking qtr? "Disappointing guidance" is not record breaking enough. Unit sales are fascinating but don't pay the bills. Investors should focus on revenue, earnings, and profit. 

    WS has proven they will make up numbers no matter if Apple gives unit sales. I think WS has been right once or twice in ten years. 
    Last year, I believe, offhand, that Apple’s holiday quarter was $88 billion. A lot of us were expecting $95 billion this year, as a middle quidance estimate. Analysts were expecting lower, at an average of $92.5 billion, or so. Apple’s estimates came in as $89-93 billion. Usually, Apple’s is better than that. If it were what was expected, Apple would have given about $91-95 billion. That would have been good guidance.

    we really need to know where the sales and profits are coming from to have any idea of what’s happening in a company. Just giving overall numbers tells us very little. I’m sure that Apple will do much better than that though.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 26 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,697member

    “Apple has previously changed the way it reported its sales, combining portables and desktops into a single Mac category, suspending unit sales reporting for iPods, and introducing some new product categories without ever reporting how many sold, notably including Apple TV, Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod. 

    “However, the lack of data from reduced unit reporting is clearly not aimed at hiding failure...”

    THIS!  Apple continued to grow in revenue, profits and importance to the markets in which it participates, and perhaps also in importance to society, through all those years while changing the way it reported information to investors.  There was a time when the market fretted about iPod unit sales actually falling off a cliff, and yet Apple grew as a business.  Same thing happened, for quite a few quarters in a row, to iPad unit sales.  Analysts and investors fretted, while Apple grew.

     I get that it’s difficult and uncomfortable seeing into the future.  but here we have a business know for innovation and focus and discipline, with a proven track record, and that business is looking out to the future and hinting that it’s going to be involved in two or three enormous markets.  Those being health care, streaming entertainment and transportation. Two of those offer the possibility to trump even the iPhone in terms of the size of the opportunity.  And Apple feels it has sufficient resources to pursue those opportunities while ramping up its stock repurchases to unprecedented levels; unprecedented for any company, ever.   If there’s any company I’d bet on, and I am, to disrupt and create new innovative offerings, I’d be hard-pressed to name any company other than Apple.  They really do seem to know what they’re doing, especially given they succeed in increasing revenue and profit by doing the opposite of what so many pundits and analysts think they should.  
    Since you’re comparing iPod sales with what’s happening now, I’d like to remind you that Apple replaced iPod sales with the much higher priced iPhone sales. What is Apple replacing anything with now?
    muthuk_vanalingamNunez
  • Reply 27 of 54
    Hmmmm, maybe Trump and Apple have more in common than we know...makes you wonder...
  • Reply 28 of 54
    melgross said:

    “Apple has previously changed the way it reported its sales, combining portables and desktops into a single Mac category, suspending unit sales reporting for iPods, and introducing some new product categories without ever reporting how many sold, notably including Apple TV, Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod. 

    “However, the lack of data from reduced unit reporting is clearly not aimed at hiding failure...”

    THIS!  Apple continued to grow in revenue, profits and importance to the markets in which it participates, and perhaps also in importance to society, through all those years while changing the way it reported information to investors.  There was a time when the market fretted about iPod unit sales actually falling off a cliff, and yet Apple grew as a business.  Same thing happened, for quite a few quarters in a row, to iPad unit sales.  Analysts and investors fretted, while Apple grew.

     I get that it’s difficult and uncomfortable seeing into the future.  but here we have a business know for innovation and focus and discipline, with a proven track record, and that business is looking out to the future and hinting that it’s going to be involved in two or three enormous markets.  Those being health care, streaming entertainment and transportation. Two of those offer the possibility to trump even the iPhone in terms of the size of the opportunity.  And Apple feels it has sufficient resources to pursue those opportunities while ramping up its stock repurchases to unprecedented levels; unprecedented for any company, ever.   If there’s any company I’d bet on, and I am, to disrupt and create new innovative offerings, I’d be hard-pressed to name any company other than Apple.  They really do seem to know what they’re doing, especially given they succeed in increasing revenue and profit by doing the opposite of what so many pundits and analysts think they should.  
    Since you’re comparing iPod sales with what’s happening now, I’d like to remind you that Apple replaced iPod sales with the much higher priced iPhone sales. What is Apple replacing anything with now?
    Future growth for Apple lies in whatever they're doing with respect to wearables (Watch / Glasses / AirPods) & Project Titan.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 29 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,803member
    Apple stock down 20% in the last 3 months. I’m all for Apple no longer providing unit sales data but if they’re going to stop providing it they need to come up with better metrics and a more compelling narrative. Otherwise the narrative becomes Apple stopped providing this data because they’re not growing and they won’t be able to raise prices to offset the lack of unit growth forever. How about Apple provide information on active install base and average revenue per user?
    The narrative I’m beginning to see is that people are realizing that Apple burnt any goodwill they had with consummers doing some really stupid things.  Unreasonable price increases for the iPhone line up can easily drive people to other products.  The same can be said for the iPad as the value of the hardware is easily judged by competitive products allowing people to justify the Apple tax or not.  

    Then you have to consider their arrogance with respect to iOS especially as the hardware has become very powerful.  IOS  needs real improvement with respect to usability other wise the hardware goes to waste.  The reality is no real improvements have come to iOS in years now, the OS is a static mess with a bunch of useless features tacked on. 

    Then we we have the Mac Line Up a sad song as any ever heard.   For some reason Apple has lost all ability to keep hardware current and consummers happy.   This after rather intense consummer backlash.  The only really decent Mac upgrade of recent times is the Mac Mini and they got ugly with excessive price increases again. 

    For people like like me that have been around for decades there is a bit of dejavu here.  In a very literal sense they are repeating past mistakes with great enthusiasm.    This can result in an extremely rapid decline in earnings, massive lay offs and management churn.  It is hard to express ones feelings here as it is almost like watching a video rerun, as they take the same old avenues as before resulting in the same rapid decline.    In 2008, when I got into the Apple fold again, I had high hopes that they had learned from their mistakes.    Now ten years latter I see them failing again with high prices on crap hardware.  Or in iPhones case extremely high prices that consummers will not accept no matter how good the product.    You have to wonder about the management pathology that leads to this destructive behavior.  

    By by the way somebody out there will try to blame Trump but this is a business management failure nothing more.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 30 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,803member

    melgross said:
    I don’t agree with this. It was a mistake for Apple to do this. We really don’t know the reason for it, no matter what some people may be writing, as though they have special knowledge, which they don’t.

    but if this isn’t to just hide declining sales numbers across several product lines, which the investment and reporting community believes it is, as it has been for other companies, then this was the worst time to have done it. Right at the time where Apple gave disappointing guidance for their biggest quarter of the year, which we were in when the guidance was given, that has lead many to think that Apple did this because of the modest guidance, and a poor start for the first month of the quarter.

    if that isn’t true, then Apple should have done it before, when their sales were very robust, and growing well. Then it couldn’t have been thought of as an attempt to hide disappointment.

    as a customer, and a long term investor in Apple, I look forwards to the quarterly numbers. One reason is to see how they did when compared to the estimates given by those firms that earn their living from it. But now, Apple won’t be able to rebut their often inaccurate numbers, which, more often than not, are below the actual numbers.

    so yes, I’m disappointed in this, and I haven’t seen a logical and good reason for them doing it.
    I’m surprised by your reaction, Mel.  I’m down $500k from the top and I think you’re down $6 million, but the facts are different from your characterization. 

    A few of us for years have been hoping Apple would stop reporting unit sales, precisely to take the focus off them and for exactly the reason Apple indicated; because a unit of iPhone sales or Mac sales is less relavent to the business results than it used to be.  As painful as this transition is, that’s a fact.  Apple is diversifying with new products and services (Watch, AirPods, HomePod, Apple Music, etc) while also adjusting prices higher, to maintain gross margins and  to reflect higher R&D expenditures and the resulting more sophisticated technology it’s delivering to customers,  

    You suggest this is the worst time to make this change and then suggest the best time would have been when sales were very robust.  Mel, sales were VERY robust the last four quarters, so Apple made the change exactly as you would have wanted.  Plus, the forecast for this quarter is some $7-9 billion above last year’s holiday quarter, so again, Apple is taking the focus off unit sales just at the time you’d like them to, it seems.  At a time when sales are robust and forecasts are projecting additional growth in sales.  I fail to see the disconnect between what you think would be the ideal timing and the actual context within which Apple announced the change.  

    As to Apple not being able to rebut the often inaccurate unit sales estimates, don’t you see that it will become futile to even make such estimates in the future, at least none that anyone will bother listening to, for the very fact that there will be no actual unit sales numbers reported by Apple to which the estimates can eventually be compared.  Analysts pushing unit sales numbers will increasing feel foolish shouting into a vacuum.  
    Honestly I believe unit sales are extremely important in judging consummer acceptance of some of Apples more greedy moves.   The parallel here is the cable companies that are seeing massive walks away from their services.  People suddenly realize that they have options and that they can get by fine without cable or in this case Apple.    A slow up in hardware sales will directly impact services and other income streams because it is an indicator of people leaving the platform or simply never getting on board.    It might take a year or two but eventually it will happen. 

    There is also the the question of where is all of Apples R&D money going.   It certainly hasn’t gone into the Mac product line.   IOS hasn’t really seen worthwhile improvements in years.   All we have seen of significance is new iPads and iPhones and those simply do it justify the newly excessive prices.  

    For me what saddens the heart is that this has all happened before!!  I don’t want to sound like a clip from Battle Star Gallactica but it looks like a complete replay of previous declines at Apple.  They are floundering about with operating system issues, hardware has become a joke and real alternatives exist.  So you have a company that will try to stay alive based on its hardcore following.  Sounds a bit like Harley Davidson if I might add. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 31 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,803member
    This has been an interesting thread to read.   For you guys heavily invested in Apple it is time to get out.   I currently don’t trust the management team to make the sorts of decisions that need to be made.  They have alienated vast swaths of customers for really undefined reasons.  The problem erosion of a once loyal customer base due to excessively heavy by prices  and a confused product line.  
  • Reply 32 of 54
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,056moderator
    avon b7 said:
    lkrupp said:
    lkrupp said:
    Apple stock down 20% in the last 3 months. I’m all for Apple no longer providing unit sales data but if they’re going to stop providing it they need to come up with better metrics and a more compelling narrative. Otherwise the narrative becomes Apple stopped providing this data because they’re not growing and they won’t be able to raise prices to offset the lack of unit growth forever. How about Apple provide information on active install base and average revenue per user?
    Until they once again report record revenue and profit. Then no one will care anymore. Once more the requirements for Apple are different than that of its competitors. Samsung and Google don't report unit sales and that’s okay. We have no idea how many Galaxy S9s Samsung are selling. Apple does the same thing and it’s hiding something. Android fans like to call Apple fans sheep and lemmings. The true sheep and lemmings are the herds of investors that panic at the drop of the hat and it's not only AAPL. Wait for it because somebody is going to start the death spiral clock on Apple any day now.
    The problem is Apple was providing this information and now is not. I don’t remember Samsung or Google ever providing it. If Apple is going to stop providing unit sales because it’s not meaningful then provide something that is meaningful.
    They’ll provide the same information as Samsung or Google, namely income and profit, eps, you know, the usual stuff that investors need and is required by the SEC. In a few months no one will care how many iPhones are being sold as long as the income and profit numbers are good. You think Apple doesn’t know that iPhone sales will eventually plateau? You think Apple doesn’t know that they have to diversify their business model? Why else would Apple be hell bent on services these days? It’s the tech blogs and analysts that still think Apple’s life depends on iPhone sales and that without that Apple goes away quickly.
    If we look at the data we have to hand we can already conclude that iPhones might have plateaued. Of course, that in turn might also be one of the reasons Apple has now decided to stop reporting unit sales. For all the blustering about past failed analysis and projections, there is also the chance that, this year, those projections could actually be right.

    It's important to not lose sight of that.

    As for Singles' Day, it is just that - one day - and in this piece, from one vendor (Alibaba) with seemingly nothing to support it save for one report from CNBC which provided no way to verify the information (at least the last time I checked) and when I went through Alibaba's post event press releases I could find no trace of the reference either. What is clear though is that all numbers were revenue numbers and not unit numbers. Hardly surprising news then and puts the terms 'outsold' and 'demand' into some context. One day has very little weight as a minute snapshot that cannot even be verified (as far aa I can tell).

    From an investment perspective, true investors probably know full well that iPhone unit shipments could dip at some point but as long as iPhone dependency is being reduced and is balanced out by other revenue streams, any drop off in unit sales is far less dramatic than even just three years ago.

    What’s most imortant to keep sight of is cause and effect.  The facts are that unit sales grew for the entire life of the iPhone with the exception of the post-iPhone 6 supercycle (the cause of which was much pent-up demand for larger displays in an iPhone).  This flattening off of unit sales is due to Apple raising ASPs with the last two cycles.  Apple’s increases in ASP are not the effect, but are the cause.  To apply an extreme mind experiment, do you think iPhone unit sales would have leveled off had Apple steadily lowered ASPs to the point where the ASP matched the approximate $200 of Samsung’s smartphone line-up?  I submit that in such case iPhone would virtually take over the market from Android.  You may conclude otherwise, but it’s a stretch in the opposite direction to imagine unit sales would have leveled off at any ASP, which is what is implied by analysts suggesting Apple’s price increases were a reaction to, and not the cause of, unit sales leveling off.
    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 33 of 54
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,056moderator
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    I don’t agree with this. It was a mistake for Apple to do this. We really don’t know the reason for it, no matter what some people may be writing, as though they have special knowledge, which they don’t.

    but if this isn’t to just hide declining sales numbers across several product lines, which the investment and reporting community believes it is, as it has been for other companies, then this was the worst time to have done it. Right at the time where Apple gave disappointing guidance for their biggest quarter of the year, which we were in when the guidance was given, that has lead many to think that Apple did this because of the modest guidance, and a poor start for the first month of the quarter.

    if that isn’t true, then Apple should have done it before, when their sales were very robust, and growing well. Then it couldn’t have been thought of as an attempt to hide disappointment.

    as a customer, and a long term investor in Apple, I look forwards to the quarterly numbers. One reason is to see how they did when compared to the estimates given by those firms that earn their living from it. But now, Apple won’t be able to rebut their often inaccurate numbers, which, more often than not, are below the actual numbers.

    so yes, I’m disappointed in this, and I haven’t seen a logical and good reason for them doing it.
    I’m surprised by your reaction, Mel.  I’m down $500k from the top and I think you’re down $6 million, but the facts are different from your characterization. 

    A few of us for years have been hoping Apple would stop reporting unit sales, precisely to take the focus off them and for exactly the reason Apple indicated; because a unit of iPhone sales or Mac sales is less relavent to the business results than it used to be.  As painful as this transition is, that’s a fact.  Apple is diversifying with new products and services (Watch, AirPods, HomePod, Apple Music, etc) while also adjusting prices higher, to maintain gross margins and  to reflect higher R&D expenditures and the resulting more sophisticated technology it’s delivering to customers,  

    You suggest this is the worst time to make this change and then suggest the best time would have been when sales were very robust.  Mel, sales were VERY robust the last four quarters, so Apple made the change exactly as you would have wanted.  Plus, the forecast for this quarter is some $7-9 billion above last year’s holiday quarter, so again, Apple is taking the focus off unit sales just at the time you’d like them to, it seems.  At a time when sales are robust and forecasts are projecting additional growth in sales.  I fail to see the disconnect between what you think would be the ideal timing and the actual context within which Apple announced the change.  

    As to Apple not being able to rebut the often inaccurate unit sales estimates, don’t you see that it will become futile to even make such estimates in the future, at least none that anyone will bother listening to, for the very fact that there will be no actual unit sales numbers reported by Apple to which the estimates can eventually be compared.  Analysts pushing unit sales numbers will increasing feel foolish shouting into a vacuum.  
    I can’t agree. iPhones are still about 60% of sales. Macs and iPads together are about 20% I believe. Other sales of goods are another 10%, or so. Most of the rest is services at about 17%. So, no matter how you look at the numbers, physical sales of hardware is the vast part of Apple still. Those do t add up because I’m not looking up the actual numbers.

    i don’t agree that sales are robust. They’re ok. But ok isn’t what drives the market or the stock. If, several years ago, when the 6 series came out, and sales went up by 49% that year, Apple could have done this with no downside. But now, with questions all around, it’s a bad time.

    i’m not selling my stock. In fact I just told my wife, who sold her parents home recently, to buy Apple stock now, and not worry if it goes lower, because I have long term confidence that this will sort out. But, overall, this lack of transparency will hold things back. People I talk to in the financial community believe that the stock dived 20 points because of this alone, and that it’s hindering an attempt to come back.

    one thing the financial community liked about Apple was that while they weren’t willing to answer the usual questions about non existent product possibilities, and wouldn’t give guidance beyond the next quarter, they did give a fairly decent amount of information about sales. Sussful companies have little to fear about giving that information, while companies that aren’t doing well hoard that information.

    those that give sales estimates based on sometimes dubious sources will continue to do so. The problem is that now those estimates can’t be counterbalanced by actual numbers from Apple. Is Samsung really selling as many phones as estimated? We don’t know. Same thing with others. And now we won’t know how many Apple is selling either. It will be easier for companies such as Gardner and IDG to come up with numbers that remain unchallenged. That’s not a good thing. Apple used to be known as an island of stability, now they’re not. Now, every rumor will have more weight.
    With as much stock as you and I have we should have graduated from the mindset of the typical market participant to be more aligned with, for example, Warren Buffett.  The typical market participant, even one who fancies himself an investor rather than a trader, worries daily about his portfolio worth.  But a Buffett, or a RadarTheKat, and I’d hope to include you, thinks differently.  Buffett would tell us the only two times a stock price matters is on the day you buy and the day you sell.  You just said you aren’t selling, because you trust the long future of Apple, and you further stated you’re advising family members to get in on this big downdraft.  You clearly see this as the buying opportunity it is, and likely so does Buffett and Apple management.  So having the analysts get things wrong on occasion provides long-term benefits to all the right market participants, and adversely effects only short-term players.  It also benefits some short-term players, but why should we care who’s pockets money we don’t own falls into.  Let the shorts buy Ferrari’s; that doesn’t really change my life, as long as the businesses I’m invested in remain sound and continue to allocate capital and profits appropriately (including R&D investments, buybacks and dividends).
    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 34 of 54
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,056moderator
    melgross said:

    “Apple has previously changed the way it reported its sales, combining portables and desktops into a single Mac category, suspending unit sales reporting for iPods, and introducing some new product categories without ever reporting how many sold, notably including Apple TV, Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod. 

    “However, the lack of data from reduced unit reporting is clearly not aimed at hiding failure...”

    THIS!  Apple continued to grow in revenue, profits and importance to the markets in which it participates, and perhaps also in importance to society, through all those years while changing the way it reported information to investors.  There was a time when the market fretted about iPod unit sales actually falling off a cliff, and yet Apple grew as a business.  Same thing happened, for quite a few quarters in a row, to iPad unit sales.  Analysts and investors fretted, while Apple grew.

     I get that it’s difficult and uncomfortable seeing into the future.  but here we have a business know for innovation and focus and discipline, with a proven track record, and that business is looking out to the future and hinting that it’s going to be involved in two or three enormous markets.  Those being health care, streaming entertainment and transportation. Two of those offer the possibility to trump even the iPhone in terms of the size of the opportunity.  And Apple feels it has sufficient resources to pursue those opportunities while ramping up its stock repurchases to unprecedented levels; unprecedented for any company, ever.   If there’s any company I’d bet on, and I am, to disrupt and create new innovative offerings, I’d be hard-pressed to name any company other than Apple.  They really do seem to know what they’re doing, especially given they succeed in increasing revenue and profit by doing the opposite of what so many pundits and analysts think they should.  
    Since you’re comparing iPod sales with what’s happening now, I’d like to remind you that Apple replaced iPod sales with the much higher priced iPhone sales. What is Apple replacing anything with now?
    I’m not sure analysts were predicting, back in 2008, that the iPhone would be the success it came to be, or even in 2009 or 2010.  In fact, I recall a huge downdraft in the stock amidst dire predictions of Apple’s pending doom beginning Sept 21, 2012, immediately following the introduction of the iPhone 5, which analysts said wasn’t enough of an increase in screen size compared to what the competition had on offer.  Apple responded with the 5S, no larger than the 5 but with the world’s first 64-bit processor in a smartphone.  Seems like that particular leap ahead of the competition has played out very well for Apple, as Apple was just one year later able to begin matching the larger display sizes of Samsung and others, while six years later the competition still has not trumped the iPhone’s superior performance, even as they throw more RAM at the problem and use larger batteries and attempt to cheat benchmarks.  Apple knew what was most important, yet much more difficult to do (the leap to 64-bit in this case) and what was relatively easy to accomplish (increasing display size).  I trust Apple knows how to chart its future course in areas that might yield new revenue streams that may even top the iPhone.  Over the next decade transportation and health care are both ripe for disruption and Apple is looking hard for its unique value-add in both.  And each represents an enormous market potential.  
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 35 of 54
    I’m not concerned about the stock price. Yes, I get an ulcer every time it goes for a dive as my life savings is essentially riding on Apple, but anyone who knows anything at all understands that AAPL is the most manipulated stock in the history of stocks. Irrational drops are just part of the ride. When I first bought AAPL in 2001, it almost immediately dropped 40%. Had I not been young and poor, I would have bought more. Instead I flew around the room in a panic. Fortunately I was patient enough to hang in there. I only wish I had as much as some of the rest of you on this forum. Apple is certainly in fine shape for many, many years to come. I remember when we had supposedly reached “Peak Apple” when the iPod had saturated the market and the iPhone had yet to be revealed to the world. Stock market analysts are dumbasses. 

    That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing less of Humanitarian Tim Cook and more of Tech Innovator Tim Cook. It chaps my hide that Apple has essentially ceded the smart home hardware market to Amazon (freaking Amazon!!!) and to a lesser extent Google, when there were whispers of Apple getting into home automation YEARS before Alexa was even wisp of an idea.

    Apple is spending BILLIONS in R&D and it certainly doesn’t cost that much to develop bezel-less iPads and $130 styli. When do we get to see the next great product line come out of Apple’s secret labs? Every time Tim & Co. drop a line in an interview about exciting new things in the works, I certainly never think they’re talking about Apple Watches with curved-corner displays.

    Apple simply needs to move with more urgency. The Chinese (thanks to free software development by our friends at Google) will continue to copy every innovation Apple comes up with and sell those innovations at bottom-dollar (née, bottom-yuan) to infinity and beyond. Apple can only stay ahead by expanding its product lines and strengthening its ecosystem (see: home automation again).

    And when will we finally see Apple take the gloves off and start marketing the message about Google’s dystopian business model? Most consumers are ignorant of the fact that Google (through its Asian knockoff partners) sells cheap hardware only to suck up personal data to sell to advertisers, killing American companies and innovation in the process. Apple is basically the last remaining American mobile device maker, thanks to Google, who’ll sell you out to the Chinese or Koreans without a single ounce of remorse. 
    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 36 of 54
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,056moderator

    wizard69 said:
    This has been an interesting thread to read.   For you guys heavily invested in Apple it is time to get out.   I currently don’t trust the management team to make the sorts of decisions that need to be made.  They have alienated vast swaths of customers for really undefined reasons.  The problem erosion of a once loyal customer base due to excessively heavy by prices  and a confused product line.  
    Your comment regarding the vast swaths would carry greater weight if Apple wasn’t expanding its installed base on all three major product lines at an unprecedented rate. Any comment in pricing has to take into account the grey market, which exists in smartphones, tablets and PCs almost uniquely as an Apple construct; no other brand of smartphone or tablet or PC has anything like it, because none provide the product longevity of analogous Apple products in each category.  This allows Apple uniquely to push farther upmarket with its product lines (read, higher ASPs for more advanced tech like actually secure face recognition that can’t be fooled by a picture) while continuing to increase its installed base.  I suggest you aren’t seeing the big picture, or even the full reality of what’s going on.  

    Please do go read Above Avalon’s Weekly article section on the unit growth issue and on the grey market issue.  Then we can have a meaningful discussion.  
    edited November 2018 MagentaPaladinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 37 of 54
    Mark Gurman had all the scoop on Apple's releases for years while at 9to5mac, and his sources were 99% accurate. Once he left 9to5mac, the accuracy of rumors diminished dramatically. 

    I once wondered if Tim Cook was Mark's uncle. Mark definitely had a well-embedded source at Apple. 

    How can you call Mark clueless when it comes to Apple? You guys used to quote his articles all the time. 
  • Reply 38 of 54
    wizard69 said:
    Apple stock down 20% in the last 3 months. I’m all for Apple no longer providing unit sales data but if they’re going to stop providing it they need to come up with better metrics and a more compelling narrative. Otherwise the narrative becomes Apple stopped providing this data because they’re not growing and they won’t be able to raise prices to offset the lack of unit growth forever. How about Apple provide information on active install base and average revenue per user?
    The narrative I’m beginning to see is that people are realizing that Apple burnt any goodwill they had with consummers doing some really stupid things.  Unreasonable price increases for the iPhone line up can easily drive people to other products.  The same can be said for the iPad as the value of the hardware is easily judged by competitive products allowing people to justify the Apple tax or not.  

    Then you have to consider their arrogance with respect to iOS especially as the hardware has become very powerful.  IOS  needs real improvement with respect to usability other wise the hardware goes to waste.  The reality is no real improvements have come to iOS in years now, the OS is a static mess with a bunch of useless features tacked on. 

    Then we we have the Mac Line Up a sad song as any ever heard.   For some reason Apple has lost all ability to keep hardware current and consummers happy.   This after rather intense consummer backlash.  The only really decent Mac upgrade of recent times is the Mac Mini and they got ugly with excessive price increases again. 

    For people like like me that have been around for decades there is a bit of dejavu here.  In a very literal sense they are repeating past mistakes with great enthusiasm.    This can result in an extremely rapid decline in earnings, massive lay offs and management churn.  It is hard to express ones feelings here as it is almost like watching a video rerun, as they take the same old avenues as before resulting in the same rapid decline.    In 2008, when I got into the Apple fold again, I had high hopes that they had learned from their mistakes.    Now ten years latter I see them failing again with high prices on crap hardware.  Or in iPhones case extremely high prices that consummers will not accept no matter how good the product.    You have to wonder about the management pathology that leads to this destructive behavior.  

    By by the way somebody out there will try to blame Trump but this is a business management failure nothing more.  
    "You have to wonder about the management pathology that leads to this destructive behavior.  "

    It's called greed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 39 of 54
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,056moderator
    I’m not concerned about the stock price. Yes, I get an ulcer every time it goes for a dive as my life savings is essentially riding on Apple, but anyone who knows anything at all understands that AAPL is the most manipulated stock in the history of stocks. Irrational drops are just part of the ride. When I first bought AAPL in 2001, it almost immediately dropped 40%. Had I not been young and poor, I would have bought more. Instead I flew around the room in a panic. Fortunately I was patient enough to hang in there. I only wish I had as much as some of the rest of you on this forum. Apple is certainly in fine shape for many, many years to come. I remember when we had supposedly reached “Peak Apple” when the iPod had saturated the market and the iPhone had yet to be revealed to the world. Stock market analysts are dumbasses. 

    That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing less of Humanitarian Tim Cook and more of Tech Innovator Tim Cook. It chaps my hide that Apple has essentially ceded the smart home hardware market to Amazon (freaking Amazon!!!) and to a lesser extent Google, when there were whispers of Apple getting into home automation YEARS before Alexa was even wisp of an idea.

    Apple is spending BILLIONS in R&D and it certainly doesn’t cost that much to develop bezel-less iPads and $130 styli. When do we get to see the next great product line come out of Apple’s secret labs? Every time Tim & Co. drop a line in an interview about exciting new things in the works, I certainly never think they’re talking about Apple Watches with curved-corner displays.

    Apple simply needs to move with more urgency. The Chinese (thanks to free software development by our friends at Google) will continue to copy every innovation Apple comes up with and sell those innovations at bottom-dollar (née, bottom-yuan) to infinity and beyond. Apple can only stay ahead by expanding its product lines and strengthening its ecosystem (see: home automation again).

    And when will we finally see Apple take the gloves off and start marketing the message about Google’s dystopian business model? Most consumers are ignorant of the fact that Google (through its Asian knockoff partners) sells cheap hardware only to suck up personal data to sell to advertisers, killing American companies and innovation in the process. Apple is basically the last remaining American mobile device maker, thanks to Google, who’ll sell you out to the Chinese or Koreans without a single ounce of remorse. 
    Google with Android might actually be doing a service to Apple by copying the user experience as closely as it has over these last ten years.  Because android phones adapt the market to an iPhone-like experience.  As Tim says, Android is training ground for iOS.  As the middle class around the world expands, more and more people who aspire to own an iPhone can actually afford one.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 40 of 54
    silvergold84silvergold84 Posts: 70unconfirmed, member
    I’m not sure all that is a consequence of incompetence . There is a strong probability that there is a interest behind all of this. Anyway I’m sure about one thing : also this time you are the one that showed honesty and competence. I’m very glad to read it. So my congratulation. People need article wrote with passion and competence. Unfortunately some people can be conditioned by many articles online that report the fake news , or to better say the same articles repeated like the last year about iPhone X. 
    watto_cobra
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