“Simmering beneath the surface of Apple’s recent banner fiscal third-quarter financial results — the highest revenue and profit in Apple’s history — is an iPod warning sign,” Herb Greenberg writes for The Wall Street Journal.
“Sure, a 21% increase in unit sales shows that the iPod continues to fuel the company’s earnings — just not the way it used to. The ubiquitous iPod may be becoming a victim of its own success, as it nears the saturation point that eventually catches up with most hot products,” Greenberg writes.
“While last quarter’s 21% increase was respectable, it is sharply lower than the 32% increase of a year earlier. Then, there is the iPod’s revenue growth, which skidded to just 5% from 36% a year ago. That suggests not only aggressive price promotions by Apple (always a sign of sagging growth) but also a migration of consumers to the least expensive iPods,” Greenberg reports.
“The iPod ‘is rapidly becoming a mature product,’ says veteran analyst and longtime Apple fan Charles Wolf, president of Wolf Insights… even a mature iPod ‘is incredibly important,’ because it is converting non-Macintosh computer users into Mac buyers and is driving revenue from other sources, such as iTunes. And that, he says, ‘is where the juice in the story is. Not the iPod.’ And not even the iPhone,” Greenberg reports. “That is something he says smart Apple investors understand. For Apple’s stock to fall on a rumor, Mr. Wolf says, suggests some Apple holders aren’t thinking rationally.”
Full article here.