Apple lost the perception game in the short term

“It has been almost a week since technology giant Apple reported its fiscal fourth quarter results, and shares dropped on the news. While the company beat for the September quarter, guidance was light for the holiday period and the street was spooked by a major reporting change that was disclosed on the call,” Bill Maurer writes for Seeking Alpha. “While Apple might be doing the right thing in the long term, it couldn’t win the perception game in the short term.”

“If you read through the conference call where management made this ending unit sales reporting announcement out of the blue, you do understand why the change was made,” Maurer writes. “At the moment, total revenues for a product category are more important than unit sales, as average selling prices are soaring due to more expensive models… That’s one reason why management said guidance was a little softer than it could have been, because the more expensive models already sold a bit in fiscal Q4”

“Normally, I don’t think this reporting change would have gotten the coverage it did. However, when you combine this piece of news with management giving guidance that was softer than expected, it does raise some questions. Is Apple concerned that unit sales, particularly for the iPhone, are topping out thanks to higher prices? Had guidance been in line or above expectations, there wouldn’t have been that much concern here. But when you announce something like this along with weak guidance, people get spooked,” Maurer writes. “Unfortunately, Apple lost the perception game here, so we’ll have to see how the street responds in the long run.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We agree that Apple could have done this when they had strong guidance up their sleeve, but we bet the negative knee-jerk reaction would have been strong regardless. After all, the Church of Market Share – packed full of lazy and/or ignorant analysts – ceases to exist without regular, verifiable unit sales figures. That’s a good thing. Any pain AAPL has to suffer is worth removing the increasingly meaningless unit share albatross. Apple will simply step up their buyback program at a deep discount for a stock that’s been undervalued basically forever; certainly since Steve Jobs returned. Apple ending unit sales reporting is a win-win.

Proof of Apple’s pricing power wasn’t enough to assuage the market – November 7, 201
Apple’s focus is not iPhone market share, it’s on dominating the higher end of its markets – November 3, 2018
Apple’s iPhone just had its best year ever – November 3, 2018
Why Apple’s unit sales reporting doesn’t matter anymore – November 2, 2018
The ‘smart money’ shrugs off Apple’s decision to no longer disclose unit sales – November 2, 2018
Apple rams their message home: Think ‘Apple as a Service’ – November 2, 2018
Investors bristle as Apple occludes iPhone unit sales data – November 2, 2018
Apple’s decision to stop reporting unit sales of iPhones, Macs, and iPads is a ‘defining moment’ – November 2, 2018
Apple to stop reporting iPhone, Mac, and iPad quarterly unit sales – November 1, 2018
Apple tumbles 7% after reporting record-breaking quarterly earnings – November 1, 2018
Apple beats Street with another record-breaking quarter – November 1, 2018


  1. “Lost the perception game” = Some people are too stupid to understand the reality.

    As always, once the analysts have had time for somebody to explain it to them in words of one syllable, they will stop panicking … about that topic and find something else to panic about instead.

  2. Pipeline could have also have announced IN FUTURE when this change in reporting metrics would have happened, rather than make the change immediately. Markets HATE surprises. Anyone with a brain knows that. Pipeline does not. He surprised the market and as a result, AAPL was punished severely by investors.

    Pipeline could have said, in 6 months we will change our reporting metrics to…. and given the market time to digest this news. Of course, Pipeline has no brain and surrounds himself by yes men sycophants.

  3. When it comes to perception, most anal-ysts obsess about EGG trajectories, with little concern for BACN components (+-BUN) that speak more towards long term growth. No wonder business schools are starting to emphasize PLUM and SAMN.

  4. I would expect unit sales to decline over time as people hold onto their phones longer and the population isn’t replacing phones every two years. I’m still using an iPhone 6 bought in september 2014 and it is still quite usable for me. But when it is time to upgrade, I still plan to get another iPhone as I expect most are. Sure 1000 is expensive, but if the next phone lasts 4 years as well then it is less of a concern

    1. Only greedy prick investors want consumers to upgrade any priced smartphone every single year. That’s just stupid and wasteful thinking that only the wealthy complain about. They have no concern about natural resources or people struggling to pay their bills for more important things.

      No individual should be shamed for holding onto a smartphone for a few years if it remains useful. No company should be criticized for not designing a smartphone that can entice consumers to upgrade to every year. Most consumers should only buy what they need or what they can afford. Wall Street is just full of greedy idiots looking for massive gains all the time.

    1. Apple can’t do short term because now it’s about as nimble as the Titanic. When Jobs screwed up, the problem was acknowledged and resolved in months. When Cook fucks up, customers enjoy an obsolete 2013 Mac Pro for 6 years.

      1. Yeah, the MacPro saga is a significant black eye in Apple’s otherwise relatively unblemished PR face. It did it to itself and I blame Cook for believing too stringently Jobs’ analogy likening full size Macs to trucks when, in transportation, trucks bring stores the goods that feed people so trucks serve a key purpose.

  5. Morgan Stanley just lifted Apple’s target price to $253 from $226. I had to laugh so hard considering all the negative news I’ve heard and two quick downgrades from analysts. Even as a long-term Apple shareholder I’m having a difficult time imagining Apple getting back up to $220 very soon. I’m in no rush because it makes it easier for Apple to buy back shares at a lower price level.

    I realize Apple’s iPhone business likely can’t grow much more so I’m looking forward to Apple getting into new businesses or additional services. I want consumers to hold onto their iPhones for at least a couple of years. Why is it necessary to ruin the planet’s ecology just to sell more smartphones for greedy investors?

    Even though Wall Street doesn’t like the way Apple does things, then that’s just too bad. All I ask of Apple is to have stable yearly revenue and profits and keep giving me dividends. I’m not going to cry if Apple can’t increase iPhone sales every quarter because I don’t believe that can happen, anyway.

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