Apple to stop reporting iPhone, Mac, and iPad quarterly unit sales

“Apple will stop reporting how many iPhones, Macs and iPads it sells each quarter, beginning with the December quarter, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said on the company’s earnings call Thursday.,” Todd Haselton reports for CNBC. “‘As we have stated many times, our objective is to make great products and services that enrich people’s lives, and to provide an unparalleled customer experience, so that our users are highly satisfied, loyal and engaged,’ Maestri said. ‘As we accomplish these objectives, strong financial results follow.'”

“Maestri said the number of units Apple sells each quarter is “not necessarily representative of the underlying strength of our business.” He added that “a unit of sale is less relevant for us today than it was in the past, given our breadth of our portfolio and the wider sales price dispersion within any given product line.”

“‘By the way, our top competitors in smartphones, in tablets, in computers do not provide quarterly unit sales information, either,’ Maestri said,” Haselton reports. “‘But of course we understand that this is something of interest, and when we believe that providing qualitative commentary on unit sales offers additional relevant information to investors we will do so.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Whatever it takes to wean analysts of their myopic unit sales obsession.

Apple tumbles 7% after reporting record-breaking quarterly earnings – November 1, 2018
Apple beats Street with another record-breaking quarter – November 1, 2018


  1. “Whatever it takes to wean analysts of their myopic unit sales obsession.”

    I sort of like unit sales numbers myself.

    But I get Cook’s concern, as brain dead analysts keep doing things like equating one unit of iPhone as equal to one unit of Android. Like we get scare stories about iPhone being drowned by $200 Xiaomis etc.

    Maybe just looking at revenue it’ll penetrate that Apple makes more profit in iPhones than all the other phone makers put together. And going forward this profit is going to fuel a greater and greater tech lead like with the ‘A’ series chip and co-processors which analysts completely ignore.

    As a long term investor and not trader I also believe that companies function better if they play the ‘long game’ and don’t focus too much on quarterly reports. (What I mean is that they have to invest in things that would pay off big long term and not just please Wallstreet traders for the quarter. Some companies even sell production facilities just to boost a quarters earnings ! )

  2. Reposting from another thread.. more relevant to this thread :

    Not providing iphone numbers is the hump that the market needs to clear.. all kinds of speculations around this change are hammering the stock irrationally. Imo

    Apple is just responding to the narrative of being a one product company whos stock performance has been heavily influenced by unit numbers rather than quality of earnings and revenue .

    That approach and narrative has been lingering around for so long… and Apple put an end to that today.
    In a nutshell Apple is saying ‘look at our revenue and earnings… that is what matters..not unit numbers of a single product…We are much much more than that now!

    Market has panicked with this move.. and hence the big drop, (discount for buybacks and discount for those who intend to buy more!)
    It will be digested at some point in the next few months and the hump will get ironed out …. and what will matter is what should matter:
    Revinue and earnings trends!
    And Apple kicked major butt today in both areas in their record breaking 1sr quarter report and provided a healthy guidance and a ” very bullish outlook on the future “.. quote/unquote Tim .

    1. Mathematically and as a business decision you’re saying. Stockholders should be less informed? That if x% of the revenue comes from one product doesn’t matter? Really?

      Smells like fear to me. Wall Street rewards or punishes change.

            1. PS-
              It’s also less honest because as I stated from aconsumer point of view because it conceals whether profits are held up by higher prices on fewer units, or not.

              This can be indicative of numerous things such as, going more up market, whether the faithful are supporting the company, etc. it matters.

              Now, if you know % (if) of sales, and of course you know retail price, you can estimate the number of units. Why not just say so?

              I still smell fear.

      1. Well they can only punish It once here rather than 4 times a year as usual based on very little. So take a hit now for a smoother, more rounded and more reflective ride in future. It won’t stop doe ulation true but at least it won’t actually feed irrational attitudes anymore.

  3. The market dropped before the new reporting format was announced. If no unit sales numbers were available, there would have been no drop. The market has made Cook’s case for him. Record revenues, record profits, really amazing growth and the stock tumbles because the YoY unit numbers were not high enough even though they sold more phones, and at a higher price than a year ago.

  4. Apple quickly lost it’s $1T valuation because it couldn’t sell quite enough iPhones. Quite a hit for Apple’s pride. This will lead to some nasty talk by the news media of how Apple is doomed yet again.

    Apple is doing the best it can in a bad situation. High-end smartphone sales have hit a solid wall due to market saturation. The only countries left to sell smartphones to are the poorest countries in the world. Apple won’t be able to sell iPhones to more than a few percent of those consumers. Android smartphone sales will continue to grow even if Android manufacturers are taking losses.

    I believe Apple’s only solution is to find some other product(s) or services to boost revenue and profits. Apple should have gone after some unstoppable cloud business like all the other major tech companies did. Apple would have been rewarded with praise of unlimited growth but missed the chance. Wall Street loves the term “cloud.” Why didn’t Apple see the opportunity with all that cash they had to spend?

    It seems impossible for Apple to become anything other than The iPhone Company. I don’t think there’s another product on the planet that can equal the value of smartphones.

      1. True but it has given a boost to Microsofts otherwise failing or stagnant business. Swings and roundabouts I guess but certainly is today’s buzz word. Tomorrows? Who knows but Apple certainly should have taken a bigger if selective bite I feel.

        1. It makes no sense to get in to a business because it’s a hot buzzword. Apple just needs to keep doing what they are best at.

          Remember when “smartphones” were the hot buzzword and Amazon tried to get in to that business? It didn’t work out so well, did it? It’s the same reason why Nike doesn’t sell Big Macs.

          Lots of businesses can make a lot of money. Apple can’t be in all of them.

  5. Probably because they have been stagnant. A ‘post PC’ world is not achieved by a product that has to become a PC to be as useful as a PC, that was always bs. So much for hyperbole. If anything, all it’s resulted in is people, particularly kids, being less technologically saavy than in pre-web days. Kind of a joke.

    1. Agreed, it is evident in product stagnation (hello, new macs every 4 years!) along with driving on with ever-higher margin attempts in a market that’s losing its differentiation to support that…

      …and the irony is that the MDN sidebar poll is “which new iPhone are you buying?” And the #1 response is “No, I won’t be buying…”.

  6. Pipeline is trying to hide how much he’s hurting Apple.

    Pipeline raises prices for 3rd rate tech to keep revenues up, while hiding falling sales.

    Iphone sales down, mac sales down, prices up. Pipeline keeps his job by people only looking at a bump in revenue.

    The build quality keeps going down, lack of hardware updates, poor software upgrades, how long do you think this goes on before Apple starts dropping like a rock.

    The only thing that’s up is services, but the hardware drives the services, so that will be short lived.

    Oh yeah, Apple is no longer a Trillion dollar company.

    1. I’ll second that.

      About time the ridiculous high prices are starting to hurt Apple unit sales. Yes, Cook is hiding his mistakes.

      It’s only a matter of time now. The slow decline has begun…

      1. Apple products have ALWAYS been expensive relative to the “competition”. You get what you pay for. “Ridiculous” pricing? get real. If you can’t afford their products new you can always purchase a refurb or look to ebay. If you truly think Apple products are overpriced and poorly constructed and the company is in a terminal decline, please feel free to buy an Android device – but I am guessing you won’t

      2. There is, and always has been, an inverse relationship between price and unit sales. If price goes up, sales go down. That isn’t just “starting” to happen. It is why Android unit sales always were, and always will be, higher than iOS.

        However, there is a direct relationship between unit price and per-unit profit. As one goes up, so does the other. Again, that isn’t a new thing. It is why iOS profits dwarf all the Android makers put together, and always have. The others are selling more units, but in some cases losing money on each one.

        It’s like the Laffer Curve in taxation. There is a sweet spot where prices are just right to balance increased economic activity with increased margins and make the most money. The fact that Apple is still has the highest profits and highest market capitalization of any publicly traded company in the world suggests they are doing a pretty good job at finding that sweet spot.

        What slow decline? The critics have been decrying Apple’s rapid decline the whole time the company was more than doubling in value. The criticism started about the same time that Tim Cook confirmed that he was gay. Hmm.

        1. Facts may be bucking that trend in the short term with upward price pressure to compensate for unit sales. Tack on future non-disclosure of future sales and a potential strategy emerges.

    2. Very simplistic take, if people are not buying new or upgrading their iPhones because it’s a mature market and they are happy with the phone they have then the installed base is still increasing and thus services will still increase and more so if improved and better services are provide. When people are dumping their iPhones for the opposition or delay purchases beyond an ability to use those services, that would be the serious concern for services increasing value and there is no sign of that in fact.

      1. Haven’t you heard? “There is no sign of that in fact” is no longer a persuasive argument, at least on this side of the Atlantic. We have it on the highest authority that “There is no proof of anything.”

        Policy—whether of a government or a business—need not be science-based, evidence-based, or fact-based, because there are no facts, only unprovable assertions of opinion masquerading as facts. For example, what distinguishes real and fake news for both the Left and Right is not facticity (there is no such thing), but adherence to the correct political position.

        So don’t try to argue facts with this crowd. They have moved beyond such considerations into a world where the triumph of the will has moved beyond true and false, or good and evil.

  7. Amazon does not report how many items they sold…. The thing that matters is that Apple is VERY profitable and items built doesn’t not matter – maybe active users do but bottom line is money and they make a boat load of it. Also think of this they don’t even have to pay a power bill with everything being solar/wind etc. Wall Street punishes success cause they are jealous.

    1. Apple’s competitors have never reported unit sales. For decades, the Street has been comparing Apple’s actual sales numbers against estimates for the competition. The estimates are almost certainly inflated, so Apple has been at a disadvantage. The slide yesterday and today in APPL began when the company’s actual unit sales numbers fell a fraction short of analyst estimates, even though actual profits significantly beat the estimates.

      By making this change, the company finally levels the playing field.

      1. Amazon is a competitor in a couple of areas. Small in fact. ANd Apple crushes Amazon where they compete, except for the Homepod where Alexa crushes Apple, and also, as a retailer where Amazon crushes Apple.

        Does Amazon report “Alexa” unit sales? I don’t know, but it’s not their main business. Retail is.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.