Apple decision to keep lid on iPhone sales data unnerves investors

Dwayne Harmon
November 4, 2018

Apple's stock (AAPL) took another leg lower in after-hours trading on this shift in reporting policy.

Apple has an iPhone problem.

Sales in Greater China came in at $11.4 billion in the quarter, up 16 percent from a year earlier. As for other products, iPad sales were down by about 6% year over year while Mac sales were down by 2%. On Tuesday last week, the company unveiled a new line of Macs and iPads during an event in Brooklyn.

Cook said Apple's business in India in the fourth quarter was flat.

The iPhone growth is slowing down, but that hasn't affected Apple's revenue so far.

Apple will no longer share how many units of iPhones, iPads, Macs it sells.

Cook was confident, however, that Apple will be able to get through the circumstances, as the company is armed with "our strongest line-up of products and services ever".

Apple, which topped the $1 trillion mark on August 2, had a market value of $1.073 trillion at the close of trading on Thursday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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Eight brokerages cut their price targets for Apple, but only one - Bank of America Merrill Lynch - cut its rating on the stock, to neutral from buy.

Investors balked at the reporting change, and at revenue projections that fell short of Wall Street estimates.

Maestri also described how the company was supporting enterprise IT through Apple Business Manager, which he said provides a new way for IT teams to deploy Apple devices at scale. "We've been in discussions with them and the discussions are going quite well", Cook said during the fourth quarter 2018 earnings call Thursday.

"If you go to the market and you push your cart up to the cashier and she says, or he says, 'How many units you have in there?' It doesn't matter a lot how many units there are in there in terms of the overall value of what's in the cart". The nearly $10 billion revenue is another record figure for the category and is expected to increase more as Apple pours in more efforts in offerings such as digital content and payments.

The highlight of the Apple quarterly results was that the company beat the market expectation by recording all-time high of $10 billion in revenue just from services, a 27% increase over Q4 2017.

Other analysts said the outlook remains positive for Apple as it diversifies its revenue base with more services such as streaming music and Apple Pay, and moves toward the launch of a video service that could compete with Netflix.

"We generated iPad growth in a number of key regions around the world, including Latin America, Europe, Japan, India and South Asia".

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