“Apple has spent years proving iPhone doubters wrong. Those who made a habit of calling for the iPhone’s demise have watched the product go on to bring Apple over $600 billion of revenue and close to $250 billion of gross profit over the years,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “Ironically, just when it seemed like iPhone skeptics had thrown in the towel and accepted the iPhone’s supremacy, warning signs are beginning to appear in the iPhone business.”
“Apple’s 2Q16 earnings report was not pretty,” Cybart writes. “Not only did iPhone sales decline year-over-year for the first time, but management issued alarming guidance for 3Q16, suggesting another very difficult quarter for iPhone sales. In addition, Apple expects iPhone average selling price (ASP) and margin to deteriorate due to the recently introduced $400 iPhone SE. On top of it all, Apple will take a historically large $2 billion inventory adjustment related to the iPhone 6s due to sales coming in below expectations. While some are optimistic that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will turn things around in a few months, it’s time to become skeptical. The iPhone growth story is breaking apart, and management does not seem to be in control of the situation.”
“The most alarming aspect of the iPhone’s recent growth troubles has been that Apple management appears to have been caught off guard,” Cybart writes. “The company thought the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus would build off of the sales level associated with the very successful iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Instead, Apple is seeing iPhone sales fall 15% to 20% in 2016.”
“Apple needs to get ahead of this deteriorating iPhone demand environment,” Cybart writes. “Management cannot assume that iPhone users will upgrade to new iPhones like they have in the past. This will have an impact on how Apple approaches iPhone development schedules. It was clear that the iPhone ‘S’ cycle ended last year, and current iPhone trends all but confirm that to be the case. It is now time to get rid of the ‘S’ iPhone nomenclature as well. A case can even be made that it is time for Apple to change its entire iPhone numbering nomenclature given changing device upgrade behavior.”
“The good news for Apple is that the company is organized in such a way as to handle these iPhone warning signs better than most other companies,” Cybart writes. “There are signs that Apple has been working to move beyond the iPhone for well over a year with Project Titan and other wearable devices representing the company’s future. The one thing management needs to work on is moving the Apple narrative away from iPhone unit sales growth.”
Much more in the full article – very highly recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: Please read the full article. It very clearly lays out Apple’s issues and the company’s path forward.
It’s time for Apple to grow services as a very profitable bridge while they work on the Next Big Thing™.
Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it. – Steve Jobs, November 9, 1998
And, yes, we’ve been advocating “death to the S” for years and as recently as last month:
Apple should strive to execute annual iPhone updates, in three display sizes if the SE is successful (which we think it will be), and drop the off-year “S” model concept. Apple is certainly big enough and rich enough to do a new iPhone family each and every year. Apple should have killed the tock year “S” model idea years ago.
What’s happened with iPhone is painfully obvious: Apple was at least a year (more likely two years) late with properly-sized iPhones. When iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus finally, blessedly materialized, buyers quite literally stampeded to get them. Then, when faced with such a “tough compare” this year, Apple was still sticking with their ill-conceived “S” model concept – making the tough compare much, much tougher.
The “iPhone 7” family – three models with the same case design and all with 3D Touch — comprised of the 4-inch iPhone 7 SE, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus — should have debuted last September. That would have taken care of the current tough compare with iPhone 6/Plus. Then, this year, the iPhone 8 family, again with a new case design, but now waterproof, with dual cameras, etc. would debut this September. In 2017, perhaps Liquidmetal and AMOLED will be ready go for the iPhone 9. Etcetera. No more “S” years, Apple. Duh.
Had Apple done as we’ve just described, they’d have sold millions more iPhone units this year and millions upon millions more each year going forward.
Apple’s raison d’être is to delight customers. “S” model “tock” year iPhones do not delight customers in the same way as new “tick” year models. Obviously. They’re still the best smartphones on the planet, but they’re just okay. A bit of a meh. We all know that “S” models exist so Apple can wring out nice margins from existing designs and tooling, not expressly to delight customers. When Apple strays from its main goal is when things get wobbly. Just delight customers, Apple, and the world will beat a path to your door.
If we didn’t work for MacDailyNews, we’d have skipped the iPhone 6s Plus and held onto our iPhone 6 Plus units with no qualms – and we’re the most rabid Day One iPhone buyers you’ll ever find.
Why have an annual iPhone upgrade program, if you’re not going to wow us annually with new iPhones?
Apple, enough with the stupid iPhone ‘S’ naming already.
iPhone “S” years usher in hugely significant features, such as oleophobic displays, significant GPU improvements, world phone capability, Siri personal assistant, video stabilization, panorama photos, 64-bit processors, TD-LTE support, Touch ID, and 3D Touch, among other improvements and additions. Each year’s iPhone deserves its own number. By not doing so, Apple is shooting itself in the foot; handicapping iPhones with an “S” every other year. Why Tim Cook or Phil Schiller haven’t put an end to this stupid – yes, stupid – “S” naming is inexplicable. Why don’t you just name it “iPhone No Big Deal This Year,” Tim and Phil?
Here’s what you say onstage and in the press release when there’s no “iPhone 7s” and you jump directly from iPhone 7 to iPhone 8: “The improvements are such that the new iPhone deserves its own number.” Period. Done. Mission accomplished. It’s your naming convention, Apple, and you can correct your stupid mistake at any time. – MacDailyNews, September 9, 2015
Why Apple’s iPhone 7 doesn’t have to be a ‘disappointment’ – May 3, 2016
Why Apple needs more hardware hits – And, has Tim Cook lost his focus? – April 29, 2016
The iPhone 6s has been a major disappointment for Apple – April 27, 2016
Analyst: Apple to dump ‘iPhone 7s’ and jump straight to iPhone 8 next year – April 22, 2016