Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency should tell us that it’s a difficult task to tell a successful businessman and megalomaniac that he’s wrong about something. Family members can do it. Maybe a few close friends. But folks of that calibre have thin skin and thick brains. Even math doesn’t make it inside.
Apple’s coming demise has been going on longer than I’ve been a Mac user or an Apple follower and that dates back to the last century and Steve Jobs’ second coming. The memes today are the memes of yesteryear. Apple can’t innovate. Apple is falling behind. Apple’s products are examples of expensive mediocrity. Apple’s success is based on marketing. Here’s the problem with such thoughts. Where’s the math?
Let’s start off the demise analysis with the obvious. Apple’s total revenue is going down. Mac sales are down. iPad sales are down. And, importantly, iPhone sales are down. Important because iPhone makes up more of the company’s profits and revenue than all other products and services combined.
Numbers guru Horace Dediu says Apple is nearing $1-trillion in iPhone and iPad sales. Name another company with a handful of products with those numbers.
The revenue numbers can only hint at the change in behavior among users. An iPhone is unlocked 80 times a day. Assuming 600 million devices in use there are 48 billion sessions on iPhones every day. 17.5 trillion sessions every year. It is these instances of interaction and engagement which are desired by all businesses built on top of the ecosystem.
In other words, people use Apple’s products more than people use competitor’s products. That’s not bad math.
People who guess about Apple’s numbers say the iPhone has been a strong seller for Apple, and despite stories to the contrary about recent sales (about cuts in production which occur at this time every year following the holiday season), sales are on the upswing.
The year-long mobile share tug-of-war between Apple and Android is far spicier now than it was this time last year, according to the latest data from Kantar. For the three months ending November 30, iOS saw a 3 percentage point increase to 43.5 percent in the United States compared to October’s numbers, and a large jump on the 37 percent reported a year ago.
Kantar is a numbers guesstimator and a charter member of the Guesstimator’s Club of America, but you get the idea. iPhone sales and marketshare are up, not down. Other numbers that bothered me were the recent Mac sales figures which went viral and became headlines everywhere; headlines which had the Mac falling to the lowest marketshare number in five years. Numbers do lie because the Mac has outgrown the PC industry for about a decade, and Gartner says PC sales have fallen for five straight years, so how did the Mac go backwards in time to sell less?
Some numbers just don’t add up.
Yet, here we are, right at the beginning of a new year and Apple still owns more than 90-percent of the entire smartphone industries profits, a similar number among tablets, more than half the traditional PC profits with the Mac, and now competes with leader Rolex for total revenue and profits in the entire watch industry with Apple Watch.
Methinks reports of Apple’s demise are greatly exaggerated.
Here’s another. Slice Intelligence, also a member of the Guesstimator’s Club of America, says Apple’s AirPods have restructured the wireless headphone and earbuds market. In a month.
Apple’s Beats brand headphones dominated the wireless headphone market for the last several years. Prior to the AirPods’ launch, Beats headphones had generated nearly a quarter of all cordless headphone sales since January 2015.
Thanks to the holidays and AirPods, that number for Apple dominance has reached more than 40-percent, on the way to outclassing all competitors combined. How do such numbers point to Apple’s demise?
Alright, I realize the obvious. Apple is too dependent upon the iPhone. Dramatic growth is hard to come by when you reach $250-billion in annual sales (ask Walmart, Amazon, et al). Whatever products are in Apple’s pipeline appear to be gathering dust and perhaps could use a gallon of Colyte to help move them to market. Yet, in every technology segment where Apple chooses to make a presence, Apple dominates the mindshare and profitshare for each.
iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch, Apple TV, AirPods and Beats headphones. The company’s revenue and profits were down last year; first time since 2001. Yet, no technology company is close to doing what Apple does– financially– on an off year.
Methinks reports of Apple’s demise are greatly exaggerated. There’s just no math to support the premise.
That’s too bad because maybe some math– the right kind of math– might make it into those thin skins and thick brains that run the company Steve Jobs built to warn them to “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Methinks Apple is not either one today, but there is no math to prove Apple’s demise.