Apple just announced on its earnings call that it will stop reporting unit sales for iPhone, iPad and Mac from next quarter — the start of its next financial year. The company already withheld unit sales for Apple Watch, AirPods and similar products as part of its ‘Other Products’ business.
However, opting not to release numbers for its biggest revenue drivers, especially the iPhone, is a huge deal. It means investors can only guess at just how successful Apple’s flagship products are being received by the market.
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On the call, Luca Maestri said that “number of units sold in a quarter is not representative of underlying state of business.” This reflects slowing unit sales growth in key products — the iPhone grew 0% in units this quarter — and Apple’s expanding reliance on services for ongoing sales growth.
As part of these changes, Apple will now report overall total revenue and cost of sales. The ‘Other Products’ business is being formally renamed to “Wearables, Home, and Accessories”, comprising products like Apple Watch, Beats and HomePod. It also means it incorporates products like the iPod touch … which doesn’t exactly fit into any of those three categories.
Precise charts of Apple product sales are a thing of the past. The company says they will release ‘qualitative statements’ (i.e. no hard figures) on its performance of products when they deem it significant.
Apple leaks Q1 2019 earnings pic.twitter.com/JWu1q8sYzK
— Benjamin Mayo (@bzamayo) November 1, 2018
It’s worth pointing out that Apple’s biggest competitors in the smartphone space, like Samsung, do not share exact unit numbers either. It means that outside commentators will now have to rely solely on analysts to estimate iPhone unit shipments with no real way of testing their accuracy. We are in the dark, basically.
The earnings call is ongoing. AAPL stock is taking a beating, currently down 6%, as investors freak out at the fact Apple will no longer be disclosing detailed financials.