21 July 2015
- From the section Technology
US company results can be a heavy read, so here are the headlines from Apple.
Still doing well. It sold 47.5 million in the three months to 27 June, up 35% on this time last year. The total is down 22% on the previous quarter, but that’s largely because consumers know Apple is about to release a new model – probably in the autumn – so many will wait until then.
Continued decline, attributed to bigger iPhones being available. A sixth consecutive quarter of falls – but iPad still dominates the high-end tablet market (that’s anything about $200). Apple shifted just shy of 11m units in the last quarter. That said, chief executive Tim Cook said: “I am still bullish on iPad.”
Now that’s a lot trickier.
“We made a decision back to September not to disclose the shipments of the watch,” Mr Cook told investors on Tuesday.
“That was not a matter of not being transparent. It was a matter of not giving our competition insight on a product we’ve worked hard on.”
Many aren’t buying that explanation. But let’s look at what Apple did tell us.
Apple has lumped the watch in its “other” category that includes the iPod, Beats accessories, Apple TV and so on.
Compared to the previous quarter – before the gadget went on sale – the “other” category is up 56%, with quarterly revenue of $2.6bn.
‘About 3m sold’
But Mr Cook urged against back-of-a-cigarette-packet maths to determine watch sales.
“It would not be be an accurate thing to look at the sequential change and assume that was the watch revenue,” he said.
Parts of the category, such as the iPod, are in decline, making a precise number hard to isolate until Apple feels compelled to tell us.
Having canvassed several analysts, the general wisdom is that Apple has sold between 2.5 million and 3 million watches.
Sensing the assumption that journalists and investors might suggest the watch hasn’t been a hit thus far, Mr Cook kept things positive.
“Sales of the watch did exceed our expectations and they did so despite supply trailing demand at the end of the quarter,” he said.
To back this up, Mr Cook said sales in June were higher than in April or May, seemingly putting to bed some reports that sales had fallen off a cliff. Analysts agreed that was a good sign for future sales.
Francisco Jeronimo, an analyst for IDC, put the performance into context, tweeting: “Whatever estimates you have for the Apple Watch, one thing is for sure: Apple sold more watches in 2Q15 than all other smartwatch vendors combined.”
Carolina Milanesi, from Kantar WorldPanel, said sales were not key at the moment: “Opportunity, in my view, is more important at this point than early sales – as for every product to be honest.
“We surveyed consumers in Britain in April – soon after the Apple Watch became available – and asked their brand preference if they intended to buy a wearable device in the next year – 69% said Apple.”
Following the results, Apple shares fell by almost 7%, partly due to a lower-than-expected forecast for the next quarter.
So, for the time being, the debate over whether the Apple Watch is the firm’s next big hit or an embarrassing flop continues.
Mr Cook’s quoting of surveys claiming very high satisfaction rates doesn’t match up entirely with anecdotal evidence of some early adopters, but that’s a conclusion as unscientific as it sounds. We just have to wait and see.
And here’s another nugget to ponder: sales of the iPhone in South Korea specifically were up 200% – which means, Mr Jeronimo estimates, it could be outselling Samsung in its home country.
Follow Dave Lee on Twitter: @DaveLeeBBC