Forever ago, I talked about how I felt Apple was backing itself into a pretty dangerous corner with the iPhone. Data I cited at the time showed that the iPhone accounted for some 64 percent of the company’s total revenue—a great statement for the device itself, but one that puts the company in a precarious position if consumers all of a sudden decided they didn’t need the iPhone anymore. That number is basically unchanged in the year and a half since.
So, it’s a little worrying, then, that Apple announced today that it would no longer release specific unit sales data for the iPhone going forward. The move, which was widely criticized by analysts, according to Reuters, is due to Apple’s belief that the sales metric is becoming less relevant to the company. In its most recent quarter, iPhone sales were essentially flat, year over year, though the Cupertino-based electronics firm saw a 29 percent increase in iPhone revenue thanks to the sharp $175 increase in average selling price per unit to $793 per iPhone.
"The 'jaw dropper' last night was when Apple announced it will stop providing units/ASPs for iPhones, Macs and its other product lines," Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said in a note Friday. "The Street will find this a tough pill to swallow this morning as the transparency of the Cupertino story takes a major dent given that tracking iPhone units has become habitual to any investor that has closely followed the Apple story for the last decade or more and is critical to the thesis."
Apple shares were down 6.4 percent at the time of this posting to $208.05, stripping the company of its $Trillion-status.
Despite its explanation for no longer reporting unit sales, the fact that they’re removing it makes it seem like the company is trying to hide something—something that everyone can already kind of figure out on their own. iPhone sales are getting soft. The product line is remaining relevant from a revenue perspective because of the higher price point, but consumers are only going to put up with that for so long.
Apple still has a number of other product lines and its services business to lean on, but the writing is on the wall for the iPhone. It needs a shakeup, and it needs it fast.
What We’re Reading
- Consumer electronics retailers posted its strongest November confidence score on record, boosted by a major uptick in Independent storeowners’ confidence. (Dealerscope)
- Samsung will reportedly start opening its Bixby voice assistant up to third-party skills. (The Verge)
- This motorcycle jacket has built-in lights that sync with your bike. (Digital Trends)