Apple’s not going to tell us how many units of iPhone, iPad, and Mac are sold anymore. It made the decision after unit sales for those product lines came in underwhelming last quarter.
The earnings report for FY18 Q4 didn’t disappoint as a whole, but there were some numbers that didn’t go over well with investors. While Apple made $62.9 billion in revenue and profited more than $14 billion, hardware sales were flat. Moving forward, we’ll no longer get specifics.
Luca Maestri, Apple’s Chief Financial Officer, explained the decision:
“As we have stated many times, our objective is to make great products and services that enrich people’s lives, and to provide an unparalleled customer experience, so that our users are highly satisfied, loyal, and engaged.”
He went on to highlight Apple’s sustained success in recent years. While increased sales in hardware are always a priority, Maestri thinks the Cupertino-based company can look to services for revenue as well. That’s completely valid, and Apple already generates a huge amount of cash from software-based products.
Apple’s already kept unit sales for the Apple Watch, HomePod, and AirPods in the dark. Since they’re not sold in as much volume, those products get tucked away into the ‘Other Products’ category.
Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook also chimed in on the subject. He told investors and reporters that sharing unit sales is a lot like going to a grocery store and the cashier asking how many items you have. To Cook, it doesn’t matter because the total matters most. It was an odd comparison, for sure.
Other companies aren’t inclined to put out unit sales, but Apple’s transparency was always appreciated. Now, though, we won’t know exactly how its hardware has performed. The decision to do so after a bumpy quarter for hardware might mean declines are coming, and Apple’s stock price dipped nearly 14 percent after the news broke.