Along with confirming a widely predicted decline in iPhones sales during the first three months of the year, Apple on Tuesday reported its first drop in quarterly revenue on an annual basis since 2003. But the whole point of quarterly earnings is to glean information we didn’t already know.
So here are a few pieces of new information that are worth pondering as investors try to decide whether the most valuable U.S. public company is headed for a torturous decline or about to emerge triumphant again.
CEO Tim Cook didn’t sound worried on the company’s call with analysts. “The future of Apple is very bright,” he said while alluding to exciting but unspecified new products.
In recent years, most of Apple’s sales growth has come from China, but that engine too has greatly slowed. Apple said its China sales shrunk by more than a quarter to $12.5 billion. The rate of growth had already slipped to 14% last quarter’s from jumps of 99%, 112%, and 71% in the three prior quarter. Further, the challenges are increasing after China forced Apple to shut downits iBooks store and iTunes movie service last week after just six months in operation, reducing the appeal of the iOS ecosystem there.
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Have you heard that Apple® is having a media event on September 10, 2013 that isn’t listed anywhere on their website?
The rumblings around the Internet tubes is that we will hear about the new iPhone® 5C and iPhone 5S. There might even be an appearance by that fabled new iWatch. And for those who feel forgotten running actual Mac® computers, the newest operating system Mavericks.
Much ado is being made that the high-end iPhone 5S will come in gold and champagne colors. Can you possibly imagine a smart phone in gold or champagne maybe even graphite, does it change your life? Apparently the color isn’t just for looks as early tests show it is a far more scratch resistant material. There is also a rumor floating that the home button will be transformed into a fingerprint sensor that will replace an onscreen passcode that is available today. Plus faster internals. Are you ready and willing to spend the cash or credit?
The new iPhone 5C is rumored to be the new, low-cost, plastic shell iPhone. Instead of selling refurb or excess inventory previous generation iPhones as Apple does today through partners like AT&T and Verizon Wireless, this new phone will be current generation tech, with low capabilities, and available in a wide range of colors as plastic is easily pigmented. This low-cost iPhone isn’t exactly free but will start out roughly $300 less than current (or future iPhone 5S models) as the rumor is for it to cost $200-$300 unsubsidized.
The iWatch. Doesn’t that sound like a decidedly non-Apple type product? It does to me and I am struggling to understand Apple entering into this space instead of just leaving it to niche products like Nike’s SportWatch or Fuel+Band. According to MacRumors this iWatch device may not be released until next year but it will run a full version of the iOS system like the iPhone or iPad®, along with biometrics and a 1.5″ display. Supposedly to keep you and me interested in such a seemingly unnecessary product the price should stay under $200. I like the idea behind the Nike specialized products but don’t know anyone using one and wouldn’t necessarily buy one myself. If Apple gave me an iWatch, which I think they should, I could see it as a handy method for calendar and email notifications while my phone is put away in my briefcase. Maybe it could even be used like the Dick Tracy wrist phone or have weather and a stock ticker, too. That would make it a useful device to me.
What about the Mac lineup? The MacBook Air® was recently updated with Intel’s Haswell chips. The new, Darth Vader style Mac Pro is coming soon. But the MacBook Pro lineup and iMac are awaiting updates with announcements missing in action. I want a new iMac with Fusion drives containing at least a 256GB SSD (instead of the limited 128GB SSD Fusion base today) and the latest chips from Intel! Apple might hold back on the MBP and iMac lineup announcements until Mavericks is released. Mavericks is the latest annual operating system update for Macs from Apple that will include features like better multiple display support, more efficient memory usage through compression, maps and reminders like on your iPhone, and the ability to tag files making locating them easier.
So, the two new iPhone models running the fresh new iOS 7, a potential announcement on the iWatch, and the yearly release of another OSX named Mavericks. Are you excited, bored, don’t care, or what?