Apple: What next?
Apple’s Q3 results have been very good! The thought is that this is Apple’s brightest hour and having hit the peak, there is no way but a gradual slide down. However there is more in the communication from Apple on how they let their own products cannibalize themselves and how they are innovating the future! Apple COO stops short of naming iTablet as the next from Apple Stable
Apple has been heaped with praises for its non-conformist strategy and super-hit portfolio of products which have upstaged the industry incumbents. The Q3 results declared this week have been Apple’s moment in history! Third-quarter sales rose to $8.34 billion, up from $7.46 billion a year ago, due in part to strong sales of the iPhone. Net income rose to $1.23 billion, up from $1.07 billion. Apple’s growth of 4% with IDC forecasting negative 3 percent and Gartner forecasting a negative 5 percent, puts them 7-9 points ahead of the market.
- Response to the new iPhone 3GS has been tremendous with over 1 million sold by the third day after its June 19th launch. Apple goes on record saying that they are currently unable to make enough iPhone 3GSs to meet demand and are working to address that.
- Apple registered outstanding sales of 2.6 million Macs setting a new June quarter record and nearly meeting the all time quarterly record.
- Apple sold 10.2 million iPods which was down from 11 million in the year ago quarter. There were two key reasons for this decline: First, we reduced channel inventory by over 400,000. Second, sales declined by 4% year-over-year.
- The iTunes store delivered another great quarter fueled by strong sales of music, video and apps.
- Apple retail stores hosted 38.6 million visitors during the quarter compared to 31.7 million visitors in the year-ago quarter –an increase of 22%.
- Apple’s app store has more than 65,000 apps, compared with 1,000 to 2,000 at the Nokia store. Apple thus has a substantial lead on apps.
There were a few significant announcements during the earnings call, which warrant attention.
The first point
- The iPod growth story now appears to be tapping off. Shipments of iPods fell 7% from the first quarter to second. And iPod ASPs also declined, despite the growth of the more expensive iPod Touch.
- Revenues from selling Mac computers actually fell 8% last quarter compared to a year ago. The company sold 4% more Macs than it did in the same period last year, at a lower price point.
Macs and iPods are slowing down and may be entering the declining plateau stage of their life cycles! Apple would have seen this coming, and the $99 iPhone would be cannibalizing the iPods, by design.
Secondly, if you read between the lines of Timothy Cook’s message, it appears that Apple has a trick up its sleeve. Quoting Apple COO, Timothy Cook
“I think some of the netbooks that are being delivered, or many of them, are very slow. They have software technology that is old. They don’t have a robust computing experience. They lack horse power. They have small displays and cramped key boards.”
Is this what Apple is going to spring upon Netbook manufacturers?
The invective makes you think that while Apple rails against the existing Netbook makers, may be, it has a net-book product that it plans to launch soon! Is this the Apple heralding its iTablet.