Apple's latest scorecard

Apple's Q3 figures reflected some unexpected weakness but the hiccup wasn’t altogether unexpected. While things didn't quite go to plan this quarter the next one is shaping up nicely for the tech giant.

Last quarter was one of Apple's weakest in terms of product revenue growth, but the hiccup wasn't completley unexpected. As Horace Dediu explains, there were a number of factors working against Apple, that led to such as result. 

As the following revenue growth table shows, the second calendar quarter of 2012 was not like the recent past.


The bottom line growth (earnings) is the slowest since Q3 2009 which had a difficult comparison with Q3 2008 when the iPhone 3G launched and saw 800 per cent  iPhone growth. This past quarter also had a difficult comparison with 150 per cent iPhone growth a year earlier and 122 per cent earnings growth.

This is shown in a different way in the following graph:


Growth is sometimes victim to difficult comparisons and sometimes the launch of products comes late or early in a particular cycle. This quarter was a mix of multiple factors that went the wrong way:

  1. iPhone did not get expanded distribution and was stale late in its cycle. Emerging market traction outside of China still elusive.
  2. iPad is not getting volume purchasing from institutions and spring is not an ideal launch quarter for consumers
  3. Mac portables missed a few weeks of sales due to lack of Intel components
  4. Some signs of macroeconomic slowing especially in Europe and countries dependent on commodities exports.

The silver lining is the return of higher growth to iTunes store and peripherals. These are “hobbies” for Apple but they might form a foundation for significant new opportunities in the years to come.

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