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

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2018
Apple raised eyebrows when it announced it would no longer be detailing quarterly unit sales for iPhone, iPad, and Macs starting in the December quarter. Various pundits have sought to portray this as Apple having "something to hide," and have added it to their listicles of "bad news" that various writers keep insisting is "piling up" for Apple. They're wrong, here's why.


Apple has never reported exactly how many Red iPhones it sold. Now it won't report units for any color

The bad news bears

The "bad news is piling up for Apple" media narrative isn't a problem for Apple to hide because it isn't true. The authors of this pile know this, because they shoveled out the same false content earlier this spring, at the beginning of the year, and in the year-ago holiday quarter. Every bit of it -- from production cuts to supplier woes -- was wrong and didn't offer any insight into what was really happening at Apple or with its sales of the world's most popular smartphone.

Reporters that previously compiled false and misleading supply chain rumor stories that wholly misinterpreted the reality of the broad based, global success of iPhone X over the last year-- notably including the perpetually wrong Nikkei, Tripp Mickle of the Wall Street Journal, and Mark Gurman of Bloomberg-- have all returned with more worthless data that appears aimed at hiding Apple's actual success under "a pile of bad news" of their own making.

Their previous reports specifically claimed that iPhone X wasn't selling because of its premium price and possibly because of a lack of "innovation." That reporting was all fantastically wrong-- following a river of supply chain reports that have been wrong year after year.

This year, the Wall Street Journal again printed a piece by Mickle claiming that Apple has cut orders for "all three" of its flagship iPhones. That's virtually identical to what Mickle wrote last year, but those production changes didn't have any impact on iPhone X being the most popular phone, nor on iPhone volume sales in units or in revenues. Mickle was wrong last year, not because he reported a rumor, but because he had no idea how to correctly interpret data he was given.Mickle was wrong last year, not because he reported a rumor, but because he had no idea how to correctly interpret data he was given

Mickle clearly doesn't have any keen insight into Apple's supply chain. In fact, he has limited experience in writing about Apple at all, with both his Wall Street Journal bio and his LinkedIn profile noting the majority of his writing experience comes as a sportswriter covering NASCAR and the Olympics, not anything to do with global supply chain, consumer electronics, or Apple itself.

At the Journal, Mickle "previously covered alcohol and tobacco" before being assigned to cover Apple-- and supposedly interpret the global supply chain for the world's largest technology company. His ability to blog about Apple is fine, but he is clearly out of his league in trying to interpret Apple's supply chain after issuing a series of misleading and confused reports that prop up what is supposedly that "pile of bad news."

Tripp Mickle
The WSJ hired a sportswriter with scant tech industry experience to interpret Apple's global supply chain

Bad news Bloomberg and Barrons

The "pile of bad news" that Gurman coined for Bloomberg falls apart when you look specifically at the list of five firms -- out of Apple's 200 principle suppliers -- who are identified as "iPhone suppliers" only because they recently warned of an earnings shortfall.

That includes Lumentum, which Apple itself doesn't even list in its 2018 annual report of its top 200 global suppliers. Despite being the key firm holding up "the pile of bad news," we already know why Lumentum is in trouble: Apple invested in a second source of VCSELs from rival manufacturer Finisar using its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to help build a custom VCSEL factory in Sherman, Texas, timed specifically to supply this year's new iPhones.

Such details pertaining to Apple's supply chain are not often public, but these facts have been in the news all year. And the reason why: Apple published multiple press releases last December calling attention to its efforts to invest in American manufacturing and advanced technology, specifically in relation to the new partnership producing VCSELs.


We know something about Apple's VCSEL supply chain because the company detailed it in public


Apple specifically announced that "Finisar, a leading manufacturer of optical communications components, will receive $390 million as part of Apple's commitment to support innovation and job creation by American manufacturers," and detailed that "the award will enable Finisar to exponentially increase its R&D spending and high-volume production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). VCSELs power some of Apple's most popular new features, including Face ID, Animoji and Portrait mode selfies made possible with the iPhone X TrueDepth camera, as well as the proximity-sensing capabilities of AirPods."Apple spoonfed the media an easy-to-read press release with nice pictures and a quote from its chief operating officer Jeff Williams

Apple spoon-fed an easy-to-read press release with nice pictures and a quote from its chief operating officer Jeff Williams.
"VCSELs power some of the most sophisticated technology we've ever developed and we're thrilled to partner with Finisar over the next several years to push the boundaries of VCSEL technology and the applications they enable. Technology is only as good as the people behind it, and Finisar is a company with a long history of putting its employees first and supporting the community it's a part of. We're extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse."
Still, Bloomberg, CNBC, MarketWatch, Reuters and many other outlets immediately interpreted Lumentum's disclosure of lower orders not as the result of competition from a huge new VCSEL factory operating in close partnership with Apple, but on the idea that iPhone sales must suddenly be down in a way that would only affect component orders from a select few suppliers.


After Apple spelled out what was happening to the media, major news sites dribbled out idiot-level speculation instead


Reports of Lumentum supposedly being an important "iPhone supplier" only mention the year-old data Bloomberg reported about the firm's 2017 exposure to Apple, and fail to explain any of the context regarding this specific component maker in the supply chain. Supposed production cuts and reduced component orders from suppliers like Lumentum are not also affecting the rest of Apple's 200 key suppliers (including Dialog).

That's the same journalistic bent that was on display earlier this year when the same writer at Bloomberg deliberately linked Samsung's display panel issues to iPhone X while avoiding any mention of key facts that destroyed the entire narrative.

These writers have no credibility left after repeatedly botching their coverage of Apple over the past years to portray the company as struggling, directionless, incompetent and internally confused, unable to sell its "high priced products" because they lacked sufficient "innovation."

Ironically, while Apple continues to perform extremely well globally -- increasing its annual revenues by $36.4 billion over the last fiscal year -- the dismal bad news these outlets are working to promote actually does apply to a variety of beleaguered hardware groups at Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Xiaomi, who don't report any unit numbers -- all things these same reporters never call attention to.

Supply chain ignorance has even come full circle, with Barrons already recommending that investors flea Apple and load up on Lumentum stock, because "Apple only accounts for 30 percent of Lumentum sales." Again, that "30 percent" is Bloomberg data from last year, back when Lumentum was making VCSELs for the world's most popular smartphone.


Wait, now Lumentum is doing well and has limited exposure to Apple

What does Apple have to hide?

Those "bad news pile" reports also ignore all of the real data we actually have on demand for new iPhones in China, including sales reports from the Alibaba platform on Singles Day that noted Apple's iPhones took the top spot and outsold Huawei and Xiaomi on the shopping holiday.

Further, Apple itself just reported a 16 percent increase in revenues from Greater China during the quarter that ended in September, despite intense competition from domestic brands selling phones with average selling prices around $200 in an industry where unit sales are dropping overall.

Rather than having "something to hide," Apple provided guidance for a record-setting holiday season this quarter. On its November 1 conference call, Apple's chief financial officer Luca Maestri stated "we have the strongest lineup ever as we enter the holiday season and we expect revenue to be between $89 billion and $93 billion, a new all-time record."

The primary fear-based attacks on Apple pertain to speculation that iPhone sales might suddenly dry up if the world ever realizes that there are much cheaper Androids available to buy, as if that hasn't been the case since 2010, or if buyers fail to stay impressed with Apple's work (which wasn't a problem back when the company was delivering boring or simply disappointing products like iPhone 4S or iPad 3).

This negative speculation is targeted specifically at iPhone because phones make up most of Apple's revenues. However, while Apple will stop detailing the unit sales of iPhones, it will continue to report iPhone revenues. If there were any real problem with iPhone sales, it would obviously be evident in the data Apple will continue to supply. Anyone correlating the end of unit sales reporting with "hiding poor sales" is either not very smart or simply working to stir up lies.

Not the first time

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. As the next article in this series will show, Apple has incurred greater problems from sharing quarterly unit data than it has from keeping that data private.
watto_cobra
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    Tim: "Jonny can you check the careometer"
    Jonny "No movement Tim"


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 54
    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?
    muthuk_vanalingamrandominternetpersonRonnnieO78Bandit
  • Reply 3 of 54
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,096member
    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.
    redgeminipaRayz2016magman1979watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 54
    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?
    Apple's stock was down 50% under Steve Jobs in 2008, after the debut of iPhone. Sometimes irrational panic is irrational panic.

    Also, the price of oil is tanking. Is that also because of Apple, unit reporting of iPhones, unit reporting of gas tanks, or do you have some other all-inclusive theory for that? 

    Apple once wasn't growing in China until it did. It's not growing in India until changes happen with retail and import duties. Your hyper scrutiny of Apple is best taken apart by looking at your defense of companies that have never reported unit sales. 

    Apple is also not priced as a growth stock. It doesn't have to grow at 50% annually to be worthy of a P/E of less than 15. Yet it is growing significantly despite its size. amazon, Google, Facebook and other stocks with astronomical P/E need to grow to prop up their incredible valuations. The fact that Apple has $15B of cash flow quarterly and continues to take virtually all the profits in PCs, phones, tablets, wearables means your concerts lack any rational merit. 
    redgeminiparadarthekatRayz2016magman1979watto_cobraMagentaPaladinjony0
  • Reply 5 of 54
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,096member

    widowsoft said:
    Tim: "Jonny can you check the careometer"
    Jonny "No movement Tim"


    Oh they care a lot. They’re an intelligent bunch of people. They knew exactly what would happen when they did this and were still willing to do it because it’s better for the company in the long run. Apple’s management team doesn’t live in a vacuum. They know what their future looks like. The stock will come back. It’s the panicked investors that have it wrong. Let me know when Warren Buffet dumps his AAPL.
    edited November 2018 redgeminipaRonnnieOradarthekatmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 54
    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.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 7 of 54
    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?
    Apple's stock was down 50% under Steve Jobs in 2008, after the debut of iPhone. Sometimes irrational panic is irrational panic.

    Also, the price of oil is tanking. Is that also because of Apple, unit reporting of iPhones, unit reporting of gas tanks, or do you have some other all-inclusive theory for that? 

    Apple once wasn't growing in China until it did. It's not growing in India until changes happen with retail and import duties. Your hyper scrutiny of Apple is best taken apart by looking at your defense of companies that have never reported unit sales. 

    Apple is also not priced as a growth stock. It doesn't have to grow at 50% annually to be worthy of a P/E of less than 15. Yet it is growing significantly despite its size. amazon, Google, Facebook and other stocks with astronomical P/E need to grow to prop up their incredible valuations. The fact that Apple has $15B of cash flow quarterly and continues to take virtually all the profits in PCs, phones, tablets, wearables means your concerts lack any rational merit. 
    I don’t disagree with what you’re saying but it’s up to Apple leadership to tell a compelling story that gets Wall Street to value the company differently. Unfortunately Tim Cook’s Apple isn’t a great storyteller. Perfect example is the iPad. One minute Apple is running commercials saying “what’s a computer” the next 5 reasons why iPad Can replace your computer. Or how about a couple years ago when Tim Cook said the future of TV is apps? I can’t remember a time since when any one at Apple talked about the Apple TV App Store other than a lame game demo at a keynote. When Apple launches their own original programming next year what is the sales pitch going to be? Why does it make sense for Apple to be in the TV and movie business? Now if the company launched something like Apple as a Service or Apple’s version of Amazon Prime there probably would be a compelling story there. If it’s just throwing some original programming into Apple Music probably not.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    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.
    Something meaningful? I guess record revenue and profit isn’t meaningful. Isn’t that what the investors really care about? If Apple sold one iPhone for $100 BILLION dollars, it’s all about the $100B. Investors don’t give a flying flip about how many were sold to reach that revenue and profit.
    radarthekatRayz2016magman1979watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 54
    This article is yet another reminder that our society is being overtaken by fakery. Those who under-promise and over-deliver are going out of style, because pretend-reality gets more views and higher ratings.
    radarthekatmagman1979watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 10 of 54
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    This article is yet another reminder that our society is being overtaken by fakery. Those who under-promise and over-deliver are going out of style, because pretend-reality gets more views and higher ratings.
    Yes, I think it is a media disease. Fakery now generally sells better than truth.

    On the other hand, Gurman seems to be following some corrupt purpose, unless he’s just impossibly stupid or an outright Apple hater or hate-inciter. Why Bloomberg keeps him around is a mystery to me.

    Mickle is probably just jock-stupid, and unable to grock what Apple’s about entirely.
    edited November 2018 radarthekatmagman1979watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 54
    You have to wonder if Apple knew the market would react this way and is using this opportunity to buy back an unprecedented number of shares

    Discontinuing providing unit data + production adjustments and mix changes + vendor changes = market meltdown 

    It did not take a lot to see this coming 
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 54
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,096member
    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.
    watto_cobraMagentaPaladin
  • Reply 13 of 54
    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.
    Something meaningful? I guess record revenue and profit isn’t meaningful. Isn’t that what the investors really care about? If Apple sold one iPhone for $100 BILLION dollars, it’s all about the $100B. Investors don’t give a flying flip about how many were sold to reach that revenue and profit.
    But when revenue and profits start to stagnate then Wall Street cares about that too. If Apple’s growth is coming more from services than hardware then metrics like active install base and average revenue per use are more meaningful than unit sales and average selling price.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 54
    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.
    Apple is being valued by Wall Street as a consumer electronics company; a gadget maker always one quarter away from being disrupted by someone else making a better/cheaper gadget. I want Wall Street to stop obsessing over iPhone sales. I want Apple to give them something else more meaningful to obsess over. Averages revenue per user would be one such metric. So would be active install base. Who cares if iPhone unit sales are flat if the install base and average revenue per user is growing? I want Apple to drive the narrative, not Wall Street, not rumors out of the supply chain.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,697member
    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.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 54
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,055moderator
    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.  
    RonnnieOdedgeckoRayz2016magman1979watto_cobraMagentaPaladin
  • Reply 17 of 54
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,694member
    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. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 54
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,694member

    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. 
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 54
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,055moderator
    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.  
    RonnnieOwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 54
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,329member
    Keep this reporting up, its the context we need!

    Did you read this https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46281768 , the BBC is incredibly negative about Apple almost all the Time.
    The tenor of the articles is especially bad ...


    scartartmagman1979watto_cobra
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