When releasing results, companies will usually kick off with their best numbers. So, when a set of results seems obscure, or lacks detail, you should probably start asking why.
During the conference call following its latest set of results, Apple announced that it would no longer report unit sales for its Mac computers, iPhones and iPads.
This is totally within Apple’s rights, but it does raise the question of why – after ten years of detailed quarterly unit sales – it would suddenly decide to stop? The official reason from Apple is that it does not believe details of unit sales per quarter are an indicator of the strength of its business.
The truth is more likely that sales growth is slowing in what is now a mature market, and that Apple wants to hide this information. It is important to note that revenue and profits for iPhones remain very robust and flat iPhone sales still saw revenue for the quarter up 29% due to higher selling prices and margins.
My view is that it is not up to Apple to decide what data is important. Sure, they know the business better than any analyst, but it is the analyst who decides what data helps them understand and value a business.
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22 November 2018