Apple’s latest results were revealed yesterday, and boy were they disappointing? Has the company’s period of growth come to a shuddering end?
A leading analyst at one of the UK’s top banks, a chap called Isaac Newton, seems to have hit the nail on the head. This morning he said: “So there I was, sitting under this tree, and an iPhone fell down and hit me on my head. ‘Ah ha,’ I thought, what company goes up, must come down.”
Apple is the world’s biggest company by market cap – worth $637 billion, still worth around $70 billion more than its nearest rival Alphabet – but when you are that big, there is a risk that you will run out room in which to expand.
The company released its latest quarterly results yesterday. Revenue was down nine per cent on a year ago, to $46.85 billion. Net income dropped from $11 billion a year ago to $9.01 billion. And in China the company saw an especially big hit, with revenue down 30%.
It was the first fall in year on year revenues at Apple since 2001.
Shares fell, but not by that much.
The company’s boss tried to beguile us with talk about services, which saw revenue rise 24%, with Apple music and Apple Pay doing rather nicely.
And there are a few buts too.
But the new iPhone 7 did not show up in the results.
But there is India, the company plans to expand there.
And there is Samsung: notes on fire – Samsung has withdrawn its Note Seven. That will create a fair-sized vacuum for Apple to fill.
But as Isaac Newton said for every force there is an equal and opposite reaction, and Google has reacted to the force that is the iPhone with its Pixel phone, which according to reviews is really rather good. In China, low cost smart phones are eating into Apple’s market share.
Maybe, in terms of growth, the smart phone market is at rest. After all, as Isaac said, every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.
To change, Apple needs an external force, and that force is technology developing such that the market is open to new ideas – not a new smart phone, but something that changes the world like the iPhone did.
Talk is that Apple has dropped its car. Smart watch sales are falling, too.
So, what next, what can it do to fight the force of gravity? Maybe the next big move for Apple is augmented reality – it’s wireless earplugs may be a step in that direction.
Success is relative, and relatively speaking, Apple sales of $46 billion are not that good – but technology is changing; it is evolving, and the biggest company in the world in the year 2020, will be the one that is the most successful at figuring out what this means, and coming up with the appropriate product. There is a good chance that company will be Apple, but it has plenty of rivals.