Has Tim Cook lost control of the Apple narrative?

“Apple Inc. has found itself in the strange position of having joined the ranks of those companies that have lost their own narratives. After the company’s earnings, CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple would no longer be offering up unit sales and guidance figures for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac units,” Jon C. Ogg writes for 24/7 Wall St. “While this means that analysts and investors are going to have a long adjustment period to forecasting Apple’s numbers, it likely just means less clarity and more uncertainty.”

“While Apple may not be in anywhere close to as bad of a position as General Electric and other troubled companies, this is beginning to look ever more like Apple’s narrative is now being spun by the outside world rather than by Cook and corporate announcements,” Ogg writes. “It is usually quite bad for a company when its stock price is driven by outsiders and other companies affecting the share price day in and day out. This often occurs without anything new being said and with repetitive commentary simply coming out each day.”

MacDailyNews Take: This occurs so often that it’s been happening routinely for over four decades now.

“A lowered target price from JPMorgan went to $266 from $270 on Monday,” Ogg writes. “Now Apple faces another issue from Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall. On Tuesday morning, the analyst maintained his Neutral rating but lowered his price target on Apple by 13% to $209 from $240… Other analysts have downgraded Apple as well, some with target cuts only but some with formal ratings cuts. On November 2, Maxim maintained a Hold rating but lowered its Apple target to $212 from $221. On the same day, Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple does what Apple does, they disrupt; in this case, the narrative surrounding the company. Enough with market share and unit sales. It no longer matters with 1.3 billion installed devices and high customer satisfaction.

In the short term, Apple shorts, whining analysts deprived of their beloved-yet-largely-unimportant unit sales numbers, and other anti-Apple FUDsters/naysayers will pour speculation into Apple’s unit sales vacuum. Apple’s results will squelch that in due course.

Apple lost the perception game in the short term – November 8, 2018
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. So what if those gutless cowards are dumping their Apple stock? That’s their stupidity and loss. While they’re dumping, I’m still collecting my quarterly dividends and the outstanding share count continues to fall as Apple buys back their stock. I bought most of my Apple stock in 2004 and it surely isn’t going to fall back to those levels. Why should I be crying and wringing my hands like those idiots are? Most of them don’t even know where to move their money after taking it out of Apple as much of the market is in shambles. I doubt Buffett is bailing on Apple and likely buying more stock at these levels.

        It’s only been a bad week or so since Apple earnings and the market is full of panicky fools who are pooping in their pants especially if they bought Apple around $220 on margin. I really don’t understand some of these dumpers unless it’s those fund managers who think they can beat the market by simply moving their money around from one stock to another. That’s not investing. That’s gambling. Screw those guys. They give no solid support to the market.

        Apple has given low guidance in the past and the stock recovered in the long run. Hiding unit sales likely scares big investors, so they’ll just have to adapt. To me, a couple of weeks of a down market doesn’t mean a hell of a lot in the course of a year. Why do people think a company that was worth $1.1T a month ago and is now worth $920B is on its last legs? Dude, are they idiots or what? Stupidly panic-selling stock is never the answer to successful investing.

    1. Totally agree. As the iPhone gravy train was full steam ahead not much in creativity and vision was required, not to mention new revolutionary products (watch began under Steve). Kick back Cook, enjoy a Mint Julep and relax with your iPad supercomputer while the money rolled in. Now Cook’s high priced strategy, for all new products and computer updates, is going to be compared like never before to the competition that offers far more for less, not to mention yearly updates. Prime example: Mac Mini was always touted as the low priced entry level Mac. I bought three before the boards were soldered. Four years later of no updates the new Mini is now priced $300 more, over a 50% increase. I did not realize inflation and costs rose that much in four years. Whatever, Pipeline has not only NEVER had the narrative, but going forward it will tested like never before…

  1. .. its sad to see the out of control narrative overshadow one of the best lineups ever for holiday season… and the excitement it should stir up…. deservingly so.

    Tim, Phil, get those PR gears in motion …
    Fight the narrative …. dont be complacent.

    Dont fall victem to the good old saying.
    ‘Success breeds complacency and complacency breeds failure, the paranoid survive ‘

    Complacency is not option … its is never an option .
    Dont let success get to your heads. Be Paranoid at all cost.

  2. Apple hasn’t pushed the envelope for years. Its narrative is that premium priced low powered fashion is the new Apple.

    It was acceptable to pay a premium when Apple products just worked. Today Apple bends its customers over and services them. Would you like to pay an additional premium for AppleCare insurance to protect your unrepairable fragile thin gadgets? Well of course you will!!! Would you like to come to our Apple Store Dongle Corner to drop a hundred or two in order to be able to plug in your existing peripherals? Of course you will!!! Will you give up on iTunes since Apple abandoned updating it so you can rent your music? Of course you will!!!!

    Pay more. Get less. Roll out half baked updates 2 years late or worse. Abandon software and hardware that used to work very well. This is Cook’s Apple, this is his narrative.

  3. I hear someone was mentioning a slingshot effect for Apple stock, but I’m not falling for that nonsense again. I’m sure Apple will be back but not like being launched out of a catapult. It will slowly climb back up, no doubt. Apple is still considered The iPhone Company, so unless Apple can move a lot more iPhones, nothing much will change in terms of revising Apple’s current value metrics.

    Services revenue is nice but too many analysts think that’s BS because they see it only being based on high quarterly iPhone sales. They all believe the iPhone’s active base won’t be sustainable, so that’s that. I don’t predict the future, so I have nothing to counteract their dire predictions. I can only wait for the future to arrive and draw my own conclusions when Apple reports future earnings.

    1. 👍…Where i disagree is that Only pushing more iphones out the door is what matters.

      I belive it is their overall revenue, distibution of revenue and earnings are what matters at the end if the day.

      And i believe Apple made the decision to stop reporting numbers exactly for that reason….to change the evaluation metric and the obsessive focus on unit numbers..rather than earnings and revenue.

      As for user base .. Apple has 1.3 billion active users.
      And Tim, at the last cc mentioned that that number is growing in double digits… i doubt he would lie at a cc.

  4. Can’t tell how good a job Tim Cook is doing, but my 2013 MBP still performs like a dream.

    However, I wish Tim would reduce his “hearts and prayers” comments on social media every time there’s a crime or disaster. It appears insincere these days, automatic.

  5. Let me get this straight, if Apple won’t be releasing unit sales anymore does that mean we have to rely on units shipped which the Apple world (including MDN) has been criticising for years as being widely inaccurate.

  6. It’s plain Apple hasn’t been firing on all cylinders for years as evidenced by the huge & embarassing neglect of the Mac line, the elimination of Airport WiFi routers, the elimination and now resurrection of an Apple branded monitor, etc..

    IT’S IMPORTANT TO KEEP PRODUCTS CURRENT & ATTRACTIVE TO BUY & MONETIZE ON ALL APPLE DEVICES! Important to the bottom line and the overall health of the brand. Not feeding one area can impact another area to it’s detriment.

    1. I don’t think Apple is using all of its cylinders or isn’t putting the pedal to the metal for years. Apple seems to think that iPhones are all that matter in terms of revenue and profits. That’s what Wall Street also thinks. They know no consumer in their right mind will replace a desktop, tablet or laptop every year. They’re nothing like iPhones when it comes to revenue and profits. It’s just that Apple’s iPhone dependency is too lopsided. If sales slow, big investors are going to bail on Apple.

      What’s wrong with Apple not putting more effort in selling its other products? Too much work? I could understand Apple devoting nearly 100% effort to the iPhone when the smartphone market wasn’t saturated but that’s no longer the case. Apple should start hard-selling desktops, tablets and laptops if they can’t move enough iPhones. Don’t give those greedy big investors constant worries.

  7. Big deal. Multiple analysts downgrade a stock after the price drops. That really helps investors…not. That is no different than analysts repeatedly raising their estimates after AAPL burst through them time after time in years past. Again, not helpful.

    Most analysts appear to work on the principle of hindsight. That’s a nice paying gig if you can swing it – make a bunch of wrong guesses, then clean them up based on what actually happened and declare success. But most of us work in the real world in which being wrong a lot has consequences.

    People making money from your money while not making you any money. Not very helpful at all.

  8. Apple still does many things well – support, for instance, is mostly good and let down only by the difficulty in making appointments. But Apple has largely lost, or at least reduced the enthusiasm of, Mac users, especially power users. Bad design choices which focus on appearance rather than usability (crappy keyboards, soldered on Ram, difficult repairs) and a messianic focus on iOS as the future of computing leave many of us looking elsewhere for solutions.

    Of course iPhone and iPad have both been very successful, but neither are useful for real work: I cannot replace my Mac Pro / 27” monitor / parallels / raid array / tape drive setup with an iPad and never will be able to do so. And if I had to replace this today it would have to be with a Microsoft solution.

    Apple’s increasingly unreliable software updates have taken some of the gloss off the Apple name and the prices demanded for Apple hardware now mean that many of us question the wisdom of our relationship with Apple.

    I don’t use any Apple services except the free tier of iCloud and I only use that for phone backups and 1Password syncing. iCloud doesn’t work for projects which include different file types or older file types. It is expensive and restrictive. I don’t buy music or films and I don’t often buy apps either. My iPad Air works well enough for reading the news and my iPhone 8 is fine for calls, google maps (Apple maps just doesn’t work in Europe) and messaging. But my usage is quite low and the cost hard to justify. My next phone will be half the price, so almost certainly not an iPhone.

    My MacBook has a new keyboard but it is still not really suitable for volume typing and I find I hardly use it now.

    For me, Apple is no longer the automatic choice and I think that my Mac Pro replacement will almost certainly be a Windows tower under my desk and my next laptop will be from whatever maker provides the best keyboard for serious typing, and most likely it will run Windows.

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