The iPhone and Mac are booming, the iPad not so much, and the Apple Watch could still be a contender
Apples quarterly results, released on Tuesday, showed the company back on its game. It recorded its highest revenue ever, raking in $78.4bn (62bn), and also achieved record iPhone sales.
But, as ever, the most interesting points lie below the top line. Apple doesnt break out much, but what it does can be telling.
Financially, Apple is a company that makes a phone with few other small businesses on the side. The iPhone represents the lions share of the companys income, which is why its good for Tim Cook that sales of the hardware are higher than ever before, with 78.3m units shipped for the three months ending December.
The question for the next year is whether that success will last. This time last year, the unprecedented year-on-year decline in quarterly revenue could be explained by the enormous success of the iPhone 6, and the comparative wet blanket of the iPhone 6s. Now, there is the chance that the 7 looks comparatively good only because the 6s underperformed, so it will take until the first quarter of the next iPhone to really know whether iPhone sales have returned to growth.
But theres bad news for Apple too. The iPad is in its 13th straight annual decline in unit sales (measured by a four-quarter moving average), from an all-time high of 18.6m in the first quarter of 2014 to the 10.6m units this quarter. (Owing to seasonality, actual units shipped were naturally higher: 13m, down year on year but up on last quarter.) Revenue has been falling too, with $4.8bn pulled in last quarter, compared to an all time high of $8.8bn in the second quarter of 2013 (again, annualised averages).
The release of 9.7in iPad Pro, back in March 2016, provided one piece of good news for the product line, boosting average selling price (it cost $100 more than the iPad Air 2, which it effectively replaced), but that bump has also gone: the average selling price of iPads in the last quarter was the same as it was a year ago.