Following a record-setting Q3 2020 earnings release, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri have offered some additional color on the numbers. In an interview with Bloomberg, Cook said that the COVID-19 pandemic likely helped boost iPad and Mac sales, but store closures harmed iPhone and Apple Watch sales.
“There is a shift that occurs online, but online doesn’t fully make up for the offline loss,” Cook explained. Nonetheless, Cook added that iPhone “did better than we expected” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Apple initially reopened many retail stores in the United States, it has been forced to re-close over 100 locations due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. These closures “weigh on the results” of Apple’s earnings,” Cook told Bloomberg. On the Q3 2020 earnings call with analysts, Cook acknowledged the difficult but necessary decisions to shutdown many stores.
The Apple CEO was also careful to acknowledge that Apple’s strong Q3 2020 come amid increasing economic uncertainty for many families amid the pandemic. Cook said that Apple’s results “stand in stark relief” to the wider state of the economy and world right now.
Cook also told Bloomberg that U.S. employees likely won’t return to offices until early next year:
“We’ve kicked the time period that U.S. employees would come back until early next year,” Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “To go beyond that, it would depend on the success with a vaccine, success with therapeutics” and local conditions, he added.
Cook said Apple’s process for re-opening its offices would be similar to how it has handled its retail stores. He likened the process to an “accordion” where the company would open offices and then re-close them as necessary depending on the data.
Meanwhile, speaking to the Financial Times, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said that it is clear to Apple that trends such as working and learning from home are helpful to Apple’s businesses.
“It’s clear to us our products are very relevant to our customers lives and the pandemic has them more relevant than ever before. Working from home, online learning — both trends are helpful.”
Maestri went on to emphasize that Apple grew revenue in “every product category” and in “each geographic segment.”
For the iPhone, Maestri said:
“What went better than expected for us was iPhones and Wearables. In both cases April was a tough month for us, very much impacted by COVID-19.”
Finally, Maestri touched on Apple’s decision not to provide earnings guidance for Q4 2020. The Apple CFO explained that Apple is still seeing “uncertainty” in the economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Maestri pointed out that Apple is uncertain about the state of another economic stimulus in the United States.
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