Finals will start soon, but I had to find some time to analyze Apple's Q2 2014 performance. Let's get right into it.
- iPhone sales are steady. The iPhone is Apple's cash cow. Margin's are luscious, production has been perfected, and carrier subsidies keep consumers making repeat purchases. If you spin off the iPhone as a separate company, it would be nearing the top of the Fortune 500 list. It's big, but it's not the next big thing. That might be TV, wearables, or god knows what other new innovative product. Profits from the iPhone keeps the bills paid (and more), but it's clear from Tim Cook's statement's that they are working on something new.
- iPad growth is slowing. Analysts predicted that iPad sales would fall, but not by as much as they did. Apple sold 16.35M iPad's in Q2 2014, compared to 26.035M the year before, a steep drop. Some reasons I can think of to explain the falling sales? The iPad is a hybrid product, one that fits in between a desktop computer and a smartphone, making it a nonessential product. Those who have it love it (myself included), but the value proposition is not clear for those who don't. Power users prefer keyboards, and while you can buy add-on keyboards for the iPad, they aren't as good as a laptop. Smartphones are also get bigger and nearer to an iPad's size, which makes the value of one even less clear. That said, 16.35M iPad's is still a huge number - nearly 4x the Mac sales, just for reference.
- Macs are like pancakes. Flat. Mac sales are the least volatile segment in Apple's repertoire, because the replacement cycle is predictable and demand is still strong. College students are heavy Mac users, as well as artists, designers, and other "creatives". I'm typing this post on a Mac, and made the graph above on one too, so business people make good use of them too. Not much to say here except that I don't see Mac growth growing much in the future, but nor will it shrink.
- Why is the iPod still around? Great question, and one that I ask myself every time we see iPod sales, which have been steadily plummeting since the iPhone came out. Apple only sold 2.76M units this quarter, likely to gym goers and children. iPod's are great devices to enter the Apple ecosystem with because they are so cheap, so perhaps that's what is at play here. Kid get's an iPod in middle school, asks for an iPhone in high school, and get's an iPad and a Mac for college.
So what's coming next? Apple's developer conference (WWDC) is just around the corner, and we're all expecting an update to the Apple TV and perhaps mention of a new wearable. Neither of those products are as necessary as a smartphone, so I'm doubtful they will be the next big thing. It doesn't matter though, because Apple doesn't necessarily need the next big thing, but rather a nice, diversified portfolio of products. Time will tell.