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The best analyst questions during Apple’s Q4 2016 Financial Results came from Simona Jankowski with Goldman Sachs. She asked Tim Cook about his perspective on home vs. mobile artificial intelligence agents and then the issue of privacy. Tim Cook took a solid stand on both questions that reveal the future direction of Apple.
In a press/analyst conference regarding Apple’s latest financial results, CEO Tim Cook would neither confirm nor deny any company plans regarding an “Apple Car” or automotive software --or anything else that may be cooking in its secret labs.
“I can’t speak about rumors, but Apple looks for ways to improve customer experiences, and it’s clear that there are lots of technologies that will become available or will revolutionize the car experience,” he said. “However, we have nothing to announce today.”
When asked about the doubling of the company’s research and development budget, Cook said that Apple has products in development face that haven’t yet reached the market that factor into the R&D budget, but — as you might expect — didn’t elaborate.
When asked if Apple still had any interest in television, he said it was of “intense interest to me and many other people here.” Adding that the company had focused on some original content, he won’t talk about things such as Apple streaming service, only stating vaguely that TV “is an area that we’re focused on.”
When asked if Apple had a grand vision for what it wants to do over the next 3-5 years or if its strategy was to react to the market then decide, Cook said: “We have the strongest pipeline we’ve ever had and we’re very confident about what’s it, but we won’t talk about what’s in it. We have a strong sense of where things go and we’re very agile and able to shift where people need to.”
Ahhh, the joy of earnings calls. They provide a lot of information, and are usually as dry as Death Valley National Park. Today's Apple Q4 2016 Earnings Call was no exception, so today we're taking that one-hour phone call and condensing it down to a bit over 7 minutes. Highlights? Read the rest of this post and listen to the podcast.
The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.
Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is an AWT News Update special edition for October 25, 2016. This week’s podcasts are sponsored by Spidercase, a rugged protective case for your iPhone that won’t cost a bundle. Check out the link in the show notes for more information.
Today’s podcast is a summary of the news from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call that just ended. All in all, Apple net sales were down from last year, as were margins. On the plus side, R&D expenditures climbed quite a bit, so Apple obviously has a lot coming up in the future that it is working on.
Apple did beat analyst estimates for earnings per share with $1.67 versus the street estimate of $1.66 per share, and in iPhone units sold 45.5 million vs. 45 million. The company didn’t meet street expectations of $47 billion revenues, coming in at $46.9 billion.
More customers switched from Android to iPhone than ever before, and the company made a record $6.3 billion on services. As part of services, CEO Tim Cook noted that Apple Pay transactions were up over 500% for 2016, with more transactions in September of 2016 than in all of 2015. The company has almost doubled the size of its services revenue in the last 4 years.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — Demand continues to outstrip supply. The company is also seeing a good response to the release of Apple Watch Series 2. Cook noted that Aetna is rolling out Apple Watch to its employees to supply motivation and fitness help.
Cook brought up HomeKit, and expected over 100 HomeKit-compatible products by the end of the year, emphasizing the security of HomeKit products after last week’s “Internet of Things” distributed denial of service attacks.
Cook noted that the company is increasing its R&D, focusing on how machine learning is being used in a number of ways. iPhone sales in India were up over 50%, and Apple has inked a partnership with a new carrier in the country to provide the best possible service over the carrier’s all-IP network.
Enterprise is a big area for Apple. Deloitte is creating an Apple practice with over 5,000 employees who will be working on integrating Apple iOS products into corporations.
45.5 million iPhones were sold during the quarter, but was well below its desired inventory — that means sales of the new devices are quite hot.
Apple CFO Luca Maestri said that he believes China sales will rebound in the 1st quarter of 2017 (ending December 31) due to strong demand for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
451 Research 65% will purchase an iPhone 97% customer satisfaction rating
In the September quarter, iOS App Store created 100% more revenue than Google Play.
Mac installed base is at an all-time high, and news of the new Macs is expected to boost sales.
Maestri said that over 120 partners are working with Apple now on mobility solutions. 34,000 Shell locations will soon start using iPad point-of-sale systems, which will support Apple Pay where available.
Apple ended the quarter with $237.6 billion in cash + marketable securities. That’s a lot of cash. At one point, Cook noted that Apple is open to acquisitions of any size that help the company.
Some highlights from the analyst Q&A follow:
Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray: Annual upgrades - Car - Cook talked around an answer, saying that Apple is “Always looking at new things, a lot of technologies that will become available or will revolutionize the car experience” iPhone 7 Plus may be in short supply through the end of the year
Katy Huberty was interested in R&D investments, and why they’re growing at such a high rate. “Confidently investing in the future”
Toni Sacconaghi: Company is benefiting from the Samsung fiasco and an extra few days in the next quarter compared to last year, but he is concerned that iPhone growth is actually flat as seen in the guidance for the 2017 first quarter. What should investors think about iPhone growth for the future? Luca Maestri said that the supply constraints are a bit of a concern for the next quarter. The company feels good for iPhone going forward, though.
Good question on having a home assistant that’s separate — Cook said that most people want it with them all the time, and that’s why it’s nice to have it on the iPhone and iPad. Apple gets 2 billion Siri requests a week, they’ve shipped more assistant-enabled devices than anyone else out there.
That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.
Apple’s Services business saw revenue grew 24% to set another all-time record during the company’s fourth fiscal quarter. Those Services include Apple Music subscriptions, iTunes Music, iCloud storage plans, paid apps from Apple's App Store, and Apple Care service plans, Apple Pay, etc.
Apple Pay transactions were up 500% year-over-year. Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri says there were more Apple Pay transactions in the fourth quarter than inall of 2015. CEO Tim Cook expects “rapid” adoption of Apple’s mobile payment system in Japan, where it launched this week. He also teased a Spain launch in “the next few months.”
Apple’s music revenue from Apple Music and iTunes was up 22% year-over-year in quarter four.
Apple sold 45.5 million iPhones during its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter that ended Sept. 24. That’s a bit better than the consensus of 44 million. The smartphone sales were down 13% from the prior-year period, but up 17% from the previous quarter.
Apple CEO Tim Cook says that demand for the iPhone 7 and, especially, the iPhone 7 Plus continues to outstrip supply, but “we’re working to get devices into customers hands as quickly as possible.” Apple’s smartphone was up in sales in 33 countries and boasts an average selling price of $619. Cook says there were more Android to iPhone switchers in the fourth quarter than ever before though he gave no stats regarding this. Things also look good on the upgrade front.
“Carriers that had an upgrade plan say that demand is robust,” says Cook.
Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri adds that Canada, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, South Asia show strong iPhone sales. China sales are down, but preliminary reaction to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus offers “reassurance for the holiday quarter,” says Cook.
Apple sold 4.89 million Macs during its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter that ended Sept. 24. That’s down 17% year-over-year, but things may be looking up.
Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri says that Mac installed base at the end of the September quarter was the biggest ever. And, obviously referring to Thursday’s “hello, again” media event said that there would be “some exciting news for current and future Mac owners very soon.”
Things were also a bit brighter for the iPad in the fiscal fourth quarter. Apple sold 9.7 million tablets during the quarter. That’s about flat with the same period a year-ago, but at least it saw the halt of a downward spiral of iPad sales.
When it comes to the smartwatch Apple didn’t release figures (it never has). The company’s “Other Products” category (which includes the Apple Watch, iPod, Apple TV, and Beats products) were down 22% year-over-year.
However, CEO Tim Cook says that the Apple Watches, Series 2 is “off to a great start.” He also said that there would be 100 HomeKit compatible products available by year’s end.
Apple’s shares were down 2.1% at $115.75 in after-hours trading today. The shares hit a 12-month low of $89.47 in May but have been on an uptrend since then as investor confidence returned.
Apple seems to have tipped its hand and accidentally revealed the upcoming Retina MacBook Pro in Monday’s macOS Sierra 10.12.1 update. Photos showing the soon to be announced MacBook Pro with a touch sensitive OLED function strip were buried in the macOS update, which is about a close to a pre-event confirmation Apple will get.
Apple is gearing up to launch new Macs on Thursday, which is reportedly why it rescheduled its Q4 earnings report for Tuesday—so Macs will dominate the headlines instead of the company’s snoozeworthy (for Apple) Q4 report.
The company sold 45.5 million iPhones in the fourth quarter—also its final quarter of fiscal 2016—though that includes just two weeks of iPhone 7 sales and only the earliest signs of Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 catastrophe impact.
The iPhone sales were better than expected: Analysts had forecast 44.8 million phones shipped in Q4, which Apple handily exceeded. Apple made a $9 billion profit off of $46.9 billion in revenue in Q4, down year-over-year from an $11.1 billion profit off $51.5 billion in Q4 of 2015. And while profits and revenue are down pretty much across the board, Apple is again choosing to focus on its services, a bright spot in the company’s portfolio. Services revenue, which includes iCloud, Apple Music, iTunes, and the App Store, grew 24 percent to $6.3 billion in the fourth quarter.
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Apple reported fiscal fourth quarter revenues of US$46.9 billion with earnings of $9 billion on Tuesday. Earnings per share were $1.67. Those results are down year over year from revenues of $51.5 billion, earnings of $11.1 billion, and EPS of $1.96. Gross margins were 38%, down year-over-year from 39.9%. Apple beat consensus estimates on EPS and guided Q4 revenues higher than consensus.
Apple issued an update to macOS Sierra this week, and along with it came a few unexpected surprises.
The macOS Sierra 10.12.1 update includes a hidden image depicting a brand-new MacBook Pro with an OLED touch bar at the top, allegedly dubbed a Magic Toolbar. Apple is officially expected to announce this new MacBook Pro on Thursday at 10 a.m. Pacific during its second fall event.
The leaked images, first unveiled by MacRumors, show how the new MacBook Pro integrates Touch ID on the Magic Toolbar to be able to verify online payments via Apple Pay.
On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks.
MacHTTP.Org has released MacHTTP-js Preview for macOS, a full-featured Web server for 21st century desktops and servers.
MacHTTP-js is a modern take on the classic stand-alone, desktop computer Web server plus a whole lot more, using current state-of-the-art technology while derived from the core ideas that went into the creation of the original Mac Web server, MacHTTP, says creator Chuck Shotton.
MacHTTP-js eliminates the need to understand arcane command line tools or to be an expert in deploying Linux-based servers. Instead, it returns to its roots as a double-clickable application with a friendly user interface allowing anyone technical enough to operate a text editor to set up a web server or create compelling Web applications on their desktop which can be migrated to public servers, he adds.
The free Preview version of MacHTTP-js runs on any version of macOS that’s actively supported by Apple. Implemented with modern technologies like node.js, Express.js, and Electron, MacHTTP-js is designed for upcoming versions to run on multiple different operating systems and computers, from Macs running macOS to Windows 10, various flavors of Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, etc.), and even Raspberry Pis running Raspbian or container-based systems like Docker. These other versions will be released as part of the final release of MacHTTP-js, coming soon.
Maintain has served up Cocktail 10.1 (Sierra Edition), a new edition of Cocktail for users running macOS Sierra.
It’s a general purpose utility for macOS that lets users clean, repair and optimize their Macs. The new version adds: compatibility with macOS Sierra 10.12.1; the ability to clear CoreCapture log; the ability to clear .awd, .dpsub, .ips and .report files; improvements on the "Clear Apple mobile devices logs and diagnostic messages" procedure; and miscellaneous improvements on the "Clear log files" procedure.
Cocktail costs $19 for a single user license and available for purchase from the Maintain website. When unregistered, Cocktail runs in demo mode and will expire after the tenth launch.
iRecognize is a new app for creating custom photo flashcard quizzes. Users can create quizzes intended for learning and recollection by using their own photos, text, and voice to create educational material. iRecognize is free, but does tout in-app purchases.