For example, recent headlines said Apple is cutting back on iPhone 5C production in favor of the hot selling iPhone 5S. Other headlines say the Mac’s sales are dropping faster than PC sales in the post-PC era. What’s really going on?
Numbers. Don’t. Lie.
When the iPad was launched in 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs coined the phrase ‘post-PC era‘ to describe the iPad’s effect on desktop and notebook computing.
Since then, Apple has sold nearly 150-million iPads. In the meantime, Mac sales have actually dropped, obviously an impact from the lower priced iPad models.
It needs to be understood that headlines citing the Mac’s larger-than-expected sales drop, and the shift in production from iPhone 5C to iPhone 5S are guesstimates and conjecture not based in fact.
In both cases, only Apple knows the true numbers, and some of those will be revealed later in October when the company releases quarterly financial information.
What I find interesting about headlines regarding iPhone 5S vs. 5C production is that no one is comparing 5S and 5C to last year’s numbers on the iPhone 5 and 4S. Historically, Apple drops last year’s model into discount mode when a new iPhone or iPad ships.
In the case of the new line of iPhones, Apple has replaced the iPhone 5 with the colorful iPhone 5C, which costs less to manufacture. Therefore, Apple has actually improved gross margins on the iPhone that will receive the most discounts from carriers and retailers.
More. Important. Numbers.
Other numbers in Apple’s product line are similarly disproportionate. Among PC manufacturer’s, Apple’s Mac does not make the Top 5 worldwide, yet the company is estimated to own about 50-percent of all the industry’s profits, the result of a higher margin of the premium Mac line.
The same holds true for numbers regarding both iPhone and iPad. Apple’s iOS devices may constitute 20-percent or less of total smartphone and tablet sales worldwide, but the company garners over half the industry profits. Again.
Another interesting number has to do with smartphone and tablet usage. With Android topping Apple in both categories in sheer numbers, Apple’s iOS users top Android users in an area that counts. Usage. iOS devices are used far more than Android devices for online connectivity, applications, etc., hence Google’s mobile advertising division racks up more revenue from iOS devices than Android smartphones and tablets.
The surprisingly negative numbers for Apple have to do with Mac sales (down), and iPad sales (down). A slowdown in Mac sales is understandable as computer users offload more tasks to smartphones and tablets, and have less need to upgrade to newer machines as frequently.
iPad sales have dropped in 2013 due to Apple’s insistence on not upgrading the line until specific differentiating technology is available. Retina display for a Mac mini, Touch ID for iPad, 64-bit CPUs seem most obvious.
It could be said that Apple is engaged in a war with competing manufacturers. In war, one of the first casualties is accurate information, so it pays to dig beyond the headlines to determine how well Apple fares against the competition.