In the past couple of months, Apple CEO Tim Cook did two things that make Apple look guilty today:
The first is the decision to stop reporting iPhone unit sales numbers on the very quarter when Apple had a massive iPhone unit sales miss resulting in having to issue a startling earning warning.
This makes Apple look guilty of trying to hide dropping iPhone unit sales. (Before the warning, the concern was “stagnation,” today it’s about meaningful, impactful drops in sales.) The confluence of events, stopping reporting and missing guidance by billions, makes people question Apple’s stated intention of getting people to focus on other, more important things like recurring services revenue. It looks a heckuva lot more like they’re trying to hide bad iPhone sales performance from analysts and investors.
The second is that Cook stated in his letter to investors and in a CNBC interview that other factors negatively impacting Apple’s iPhone sales performance included “some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements.”
This makes Apple look guilty of trying to hide the fact that a relatively inexpensive battery replacement would make an iPhone feel pretty much new again with the intention of selling relatively expensive new iPhones instead. You’ll remember that in 2017, Apple was accused of secretly throttling performance on iPhones with aged batteries (i.e. “Batterygate”). Apple claimed they did this to prolong the life of older iPhones, but it left many to assume that their iPhone’s processor and/or RAM couldn’t keep up with new, more demanding versions of iOS. After Cook’s letter and interview, it’s likely that more people today think that Apple deliberately obfuscated this battery replacement issue in order to encourage new iPhone sales.
It would have been better and smarter for Apple to stop reporting iPhone unit sales when they had a clear idea of a looming iPhone unit sales beat next quarter or at least one that wouldn’t adversely impact earning to the point of having to issue a shocking warning. It most certainly would have been better and smarter for Cook to not blame inexpensive battery replacements (the reason for which was Apple’s lack of transparency to begin with) or even mention battery replacements in his list of excuses in print or spoken on TV.
I’m not saying Apple is guilty of either of these things (trying to hide poor iPhone unit sales and deliberately slowing down iPhones with old batteries in order to sell new iPhones), just that they look a lot more guilty today than they did before Cook’s warning letter and TV interview.
SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and, when he awakes from Rip Van Winkle-esque slumbers, a contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.
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