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Apple Q4 2018 quarter results: Services revenue record new high
04 November 2018, 11:31 | Kelvin Horton
Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results
Apple has an iPhone problem. At market close on Thursday, Apple shares were up more than 25 per cent for the year - supported by purchases by Warren Buffett and a $100 billion share buyback program - while the Nasdaq Composite Index is almost flat for the year. As for other products, iPad sales were down by about 6% year over year while Mac sales were down by 2%.
The company released new iPhones in September, and upgraded iPads and Macs were introduced earlier this week. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is now focused on new private investments. The investor reaction is based largely on a weaker than expected holiday forecast, with analysts expecting guidance to project $93bn (£71.5bn), compared to Apple's prediction of $89 to 93bn.
When asked to clarify the company's decision not to publish unit shipments, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: "This is a little bit like if you go to the market and you push your cart up to the cashier and he or she says, how many units do you have in there?"
Apple said it expects sales of $89bn to $93bn for the quarter that ends 31 December, against Wall Street's $93bn forecast.
On Tuesday, Mr Cook unveiled a new iPad Pro and MacBook Air as Apple completed a refresh of its major product lines for the year. What makes the scenario worse for Apple is, this is the fourth consecutive quarter when the Cupertino giant has witnessed either negligible growth or absolutely no growth in the quarterly sales of iPhone.
Although there may be some logic to the rationale for the long term, "this is going to be a hard pill to swallow in the short term", Ives said.
"Apple is a complex company with lot of moving parts", said analyst Ivan Fienseth from Tigress "I think they need to give more transparency to their shareholders and not less". It no longer needs explosive unit sales growth in order to grow financially. The news came at the company's Q4 earnings call at which it was revealed that iPhone unit sales have remained static - despite a revenue increase.
Its fourth quarter results, covering the three months to October, showed Apple sold fewer iPhones than analysts had expected - nearly 47 million - but revenues and profits all smashed forecasts.
Apple said the data is less relevant to the strength of its business as customers bundle products, such as an iPhone paired with its wireless AirPods headphones, along with paid subscription services like Apple Music to listen to songs and iCloud storage for photos.
At some point Apple will need to figure out what will replace the iPhone, or its growth engine could stall out.
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