Apple's earnings are out. For a company that is dependent on a single product for the bulk of its revenue, there's some bad news.
Apple sold ~10% fewer iPhones than analysts expected—51 million vs. 56 million—bad news for the "iPhone company"— Christopher Mims (@mims) January 27, 2014
But that news is only bad if you're an investor who has his or her notions of Apple's current value pegged to analysts' consensus estimates on iPhone sales. Earnings beat analysts' expectations, but just barely: $57.6 billion versus $57.5 billion. Meanwhile, 51 million iPhones sold in a single quarter is still healthy growth, and impressive given that Apple is running up against the law of large numbers as it seeks to expand its revenue from iPhone.
@mims Seriously? 7% YoY growth in an increasingly competitive field is bad?— Elliot Ronen (@ElliotRonen) January 27, 2014
Apple’s growth question in one image pic.twitter.com/gsYLCiVPVj— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) January 27, 2014
Just look at the graph of Apple's overall sales of iPhone and iPads; growth may be leveling off, but you don't have to fit a curve to this chart to see that it's continuing at a healthy pace.
Lots of different patterns in Apple’s unit sales. pic.twitter.com/I1f9SFtgOT— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) January 27, 2014
On the back of the growth in sales of iPhones and iPads, Apple's gross margins are rising.
Gross margins rising: pic.twitter.com/9znF9Oq7si— Horace Dediu (@asymco) January 27, 2014
And revenue continues to grow at almost the same pace as iPhone sales.
Overall revenues increased by 6% (same as my expectations)— Horace Dediu (@asymco) January 27, 2014
It does appear that the sunset of the iPod is near.
Unit growth by product line: iPhone +7% iPad +14% Mac +19% iPod -52%— Horace Dediu (@asymco) January 27, 2014
Overall, there doesn't appear to be anything in this report that indicates that Apple is doing anything other than continuing to be a cash factory that delivers healthy growth despite the "maturation" of the market for smartphones.
Apple seems to have found a profit ceiling of $13.1B. Doomed. Time to get into the crude oil business. Only avenue for continued growth.— MG Siegler (@parislemon) January 27, 2014
And just to put things in perspective, 51 million iPhones is a huge number for a consumer gadget. It's 2.5x as many phones as the total number of extra-large Android smartphones, known as phablets, were sold in all of 2013. And it makes the sales of some game consoles look puny.
iOS devices in Q1: 51,000,000 Expected Wii U for 2014: 2,800,000 Ouch.— Guy English (@gte) January 27, 2014