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Apple Blames Earnings Miss On iPhone 5 Anticipation 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the doesn't-fall-far-from-the-tree dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Reuters reports that Apple shed more than five percent of its stock price value in after-hours trading after the company reported its second quarterly miss on results in less than a year, highlighting how the Apple brand is becoming less resistant to the economic and product cycles that have plagued rivals. 'Clearly it was a disappointment,' says Channing Smith, Co-Manager of Capital Advisors Growth Fund. 'We expected a lot of consumers will probably delay their upgrade and their purchases until the iPhone 5 comes out. We saw a similar trend occur last year with the iPhone 4S.' Executives acknowledged buyers were refraining from purchases because of 'rumors and speculation' around the iPhone 5, which sources have said will ship in September with a thinner and larger screen. 'The iPhone 5 is already the most hyped device and for it to exceed expectations is going to be really hard,' says BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis. This is one of many reasons Apple is so notoriously secretive. With the levels of hype that Apple product launches garner, it would undoubtedly crush its own sales if it announced products even months in advance. Instead, Apple slowly and silently draws down inventory in distribution channels, and then the upgraded product is available immediately (or nearly immediately) after it's announced. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, 'there is an incredible anticipation out there or for future products and as you would expect given what we've been able to deliver in the past.'"
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Apple Blames Earnings Miss On iPhone 5 Anticipation

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  • Absolute nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:15AM (#40762773)

    There's nothing remarkabe about iApple products anymore, they're no better than MicroSoft products.

    • TFS is about phones - iPhone. Clearly, the competition is currently more on the Android/Samsung side than on Microsoft/Nokia.
  • Its a miss... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:18AM (#40762785)

    But still insane profit.

    • Re:Its a miss... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:01AM (#40763139) Homepage Journal

      Its a miss...But still insane profit.

      What's insane is that a company that did so well is considered to have "missed".

      If you extrapolate from this one fact, that Apple does extremely well but is said to "miss" and the stock price goes down because their profits didn't grow faster than before, if you extrapolate from this one fact, you can understand why the economy - the whole economic system - is collapsing under its own greed. Enough is never enough.

      [Full disclosure: I'm a shareholder since the Michael Spindler days, and yes, I understand about corporate "guidance" and what it means to say they "missed". My point stands.]

      • Re:Its a miss... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:21AM (#40763291) Journal

        I agree wholeheartedly... it's even worse than that: Take Swisscom as an example. They make about a billion in profit per year. Last year, IIRC, they made about 1.1 billion. This was, again IIRC, more than they made the year previous.

        Since analysts had expected them to make 1.2 billion, their stock fell. They made more than the year before and still they get the finger just because they made less progress than some other random schmuck expected.

        How's that even sane?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by danbert8 (1024253)

          Even more insane is that a company that makes purely luxury products has the largest market cap in what everyone has been touting as a "great recession". At least Exxon makes stuff we need...

          • by hackula (2596247)
            This just in... Ramen Noodles [RAMN] shares are selling at record highs, and the company is valued at over 750 billion USD. Later we will discuss your money question of the week: "Should I invest in Cash n Go Payday Loans [PAYD] or Mad Dog 20/20 Kiwi [MDOG]? There is so much potential in both booming companies!" More at 11...
        • Should be downgraded as it is clear they don't know dick.

        • by MikeMo (521697) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:29AM (#40763369)
          What you gotta realize is that the stock market, and especially the price of certain closely watched stocks like Apple's, are driven by trader's emotions and expectations. If they believe the price will go up, they buy, and the price goes up. If they believe it will fall, they sell, and the price goes down.

          If it were objective, based solely on P/E ratios and such, Apple would already be trading at over $1,000.
          • Quite true, but what I don't understand is how their expectations can be so far out of alignment with Apple's guidance, which has a proven track record over the last decade or so as being consistently 8-10% under actual results (with the notable exception of the iPhone 4S' launch last year, which exceeded everyone's expectations). Apple doesn't play games with their guidance numbers, other than to shave off about a few percent in order to comply with good practice in providing a conservative estimate, and t

          • by Hatta (162192)

            If it were objective, based solely on P/E ratios and such, Apple would already be trading at over $1,000.

            If people bought and sold objectively, Apple wouldn't be worth anywhere near $1000. But tech purchases, like stock purchases, are based more on emotion than reason.

      • Re:Its a miss... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gorzek (647352) <gorzekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:06AM (#40763721) Homepage Journal

        It's truly bizarre that someone would sell their Apple stock (which is what a lower share price really means--people are trying to offload) it just because profits weren't high enough, especially considering that Apple has only recently decided to start paying dividends.

        With so many companies struggling just to break even, dumping a profitable stock just because it's become slightly less profitable doesn't strike me as the least bit intelligent or wise, and instead points right back to our dysfunctional business culture, in which nothing matters but short-term profits, regardless of the company's long-term prospects and potential.

        (I say this as someone who is no fan of Apple, but damn if they aren't great at making money.)

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          especially considering that Apple has only recently decided to start paying dividends.

          Let's see about that. $2.60 a share is very nice, and even after paying for my daughter's school I still have enough AAPL shares that the dividends will buy us a new used car, but their stock buyback plan has me worried about what their plans are.

          Here's the problem: I'm conflicted because I believe that at some level what's good for AAPL stock price is not good for the economy, at least in this narrow case.

        • Re:Its a miss... (Score:4, Informative)

          by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:56AM (#40764287)

          "become slightly less profitable"

          Apple's third quarter profits were up year over year from something like $7 and change per share to $9 and change.

          Investors dumped the stock because profits didn't go up as much as their guesses. Apple themselves guessed a little low, as usual.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        You know what's even more insane? Apple beat their projection by 1 billion dollars. They missed all right, on the positive side. They just didn't miss by as much as they usually do.

      • by itsdapead (734413)

        What's insane is that a company that did so well is considered to have "missed".

        If one was really cynical, one might speculate that someone, somewhere is coining it in by releasing "analysts reports" predicting unfeasibly high profits and then shorting the stock.

        Of course, that's pure conspiracy theory and the responsible, professional and law-abiding folk in our wonderful finance industries would never contemplate such illegal manipulation.

    • by oztiks (921504)

      It's insane profit matched by insane operating cost, which remained the same as Q before. The reason why investors would be scared of that is because it raises a lot of curious questions.

      Did Apple manufacture devices that are not leaving shelves? To say that people are waiting for the iPhone is a bad thing for a few reasons. A) most people want their new phone today, they are on a contract and if the sales person wants the sale he'll / she'll peddle any product B) The competition offer the end user the same

  • it looks bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:20AM (#40762801)

    but imagine how bad it will be when apple's competitors products are no longer being blocked by the court system in frivolous lawsuits.

    • Re:it looks bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:34AM (#40762915)

      but imagine how bad it will be when apple's competitors products are no longer being blocked by the court system in frivolous lawsuits.

      From Apple's point of view they are far from frivolous. They are a delaying tactic, so that competitors products come to market later than the equivalent Apple technology generation.

      • 5 Products (all but 2-3 are obsolete) against (after a quick look) more than 100 current products, from more than 10 manufacturers .... how exactly do they delay all of these in all countries ?

        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          They don't, which is why the original argument is without merit.

        • by chrb (1083577)

          how exactly do they delay all of these in all countries ?

          You are right, Apple don't appear to be trying to delay every single Android device from every single manufacturer. But then again, they don't have to. If you check out the "Android fragmentation" graphic [mshcdn.com] you will notice that the vast majority of devices are sold by only a few manufacturers - Samsung being the largest, with HTC, Sony and Motorola trailing. Apple has sued Samsung, HTC and Motorola - the curiosity is Sony, who haven't been sued yet. Why not is speculative: Why hasn't Sony been sued by Apple [cnet.com]

  • by zzzy (913235) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:20AM (#40762809)
    Anyone with a shade of education will understand statistical deviation around a steady trend. If you expect to make the exact extrapolated revenue figure, well, you should maybe go back to school or finde a more appropriate job than administering investment funds or consulting for the investment community. Just a thought.
  • Duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:21AM (#40762817)

    The only people who were disappointed with Apple's results were the "financial analysts" (and I put that in quotes for a reason...) who made wild predictions and were proven, as they often seem to be proven, wrong. I don't know of any other profession, _including_ meteorologists, where being wrong in your prediction that often is acceptable.

    Anyone who couldn't foresee buyers slowing down on iPhone purchases as the refresh date approaches, is an idiot. Apple has released their new model like virtual clockwork for several years. There was going to be a slowdown. Expect it. Here, I'll make a bold prediction - in one year's time, rumours will ramp up of an "iPhone 6" (which will actually be called the "iPhone 5S" though nobody will be smart enough to foresee that...) and sales of the iPhone 5 will slow down though Apple will still have an exceptionally strong quarter selling an enormous number of devices though "market analysts" will claim it's a disappointment. Write it down. Take it to the bank. That's a prediction you can bet money on.

    Seriously, why investment firms pay these morons even a penny for their ill-informed random guessing is beyond me. Actually, that's not fair - if they were guessing randomly, they'd at least have a chance of periodically getting it right and the majority of these people get it 180 degrees wrong every time...

    • One other profession.. Gartner analyst. Also television talking head.

      In some industries, CEO.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I don't think any fault lies on apple for this one. The financial analysts were wrong. I'm sure if you had asked accountants at Apple 2 months into the quarter they could have told you a much more accurate number of where they would be at the end of the quarter. All that being said, the analysts were only off by 6%. That's not all that much in the grand scheme of things. Especially considering they made a 23% profit (8 billion from one source I read). Any company that can make 23% profit selling electroni
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        "I'm sure if you had asked accountants at Apple 2 months into the quarter they could have told you a much more accurate number of where they would be at the end of the quarter."

        Apple's guidance was 1 billion LESS than they reported.

    • Anyone could also see that Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs (it's unrealistic to expect that of ANYONE). Why everyone just assumed that Apple could continue on without taking at least some hit with the loss of Steve Jobs that is beyond me. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that there are very few leaders capable of inspiring and leading Apple staff (or bullying/conning them, if you want to take that view) quite like Steve Jobs.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Other way around, IMO. Steve Jobs was a great salesman with great mystique, but a fair amount of that mystique came from fear, replete with famous anecdotes about people meeting him in an elevator, being asked what they do, failing to respond quickly enough, and getting fired on the spot. Tim Cook, by contrast, seems like a straight shooter who is genuinely trying to make Apple a better, more responsible company that people will be proud to work for. He is very good at inspiring the troops, IMO.

    • by Jurily (900488)

      I don't know of any other profession, _including_ meteorologists, where being wrong in your prediction that often is acceptable.

      Keep in mind, that drop that the smart guys couldn't predict, was caused by rumors. The stock market is a strange beast, and nobody understands it completely: the very act of trying to model it, changes it. At least for models with enough predictive power to make you money.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        Oh, come on... Everybody knows that the stock market is just a simple random walk, and any attempts at prediction are futile. Some folks buy, some folks sell, and there's no logic or trends in any of it. Analysts don't really "analyze" anything. They just sit in their offices all day drinking scotch and bourbon, throwing darts at a globe to decide where their next hunting trip will be. When it comes time for the quarter end, they roll some dice to guess what a particular company will do next quarter, then h

    • by sribe (304414)

      Anyone who couldn't foresee buyers slowing down on iPhone purchases as the refresh date approaches, is an idiot. Apple has released their new model like virtual clockwork for several years. There was going to be a slowdown.

      Well, duh. Everybody did predict a slowdown. The trick is in predicting how much of a slowdown.

      The drop-off in iPhone 4S sales came much earlier in the product's life cycle than did the drop-off in iPhone 4 sales. (Remember, between 4 and 4S there was actually a substantial deviation from "like virtual clockwork" of over a quarter.)

    • The problem with that is that Apple's stock price is, essentially, set by those same people. The only reason it's so high is because everyone is expecting Apple to continue to make increasingly ridiculous profits. So if the profits aren't quite as ridiculous as everyone was hoping for, then the extremely high stock price is no longer justified, and it'll drop, even though the company is still doing very, very well.

      (Especially now, as Android is skyrocketing, Wall Street is looking for any sign of weakness i

      • by gtall (79522)

        There stock price isn't not high by price/earnings. Their price is only high to you because you see the price per stock. If they would split that stock, they'd have a more normal price, but then everybody and their brothers dog (not, of course, the totally techno-twits on Slashdot who wouldn't be caught dead using an iProduct) would attempt to buy Apple stock and then the P/E really would get out of whack.

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      I'm going to let my inner cynic out for just a few minutes. I think you're missing the point of stock analysts. Their purpose is not to help others make good decisions. Their purpose is to encourage people to make bad decisions that the big hedge funds can profit from. If you want to make money from the stock market, watch what the analysts say, then do the opposite. If they're saying that a company is going to have a really strong earnings report, sell the day before the earnings report, buy again the

  • Yea, I have a 3GS and am ready to replace it with a new phone. I like the iPhone but am waiting on the 5 before I upgrade, especially since it's just a couple of months away.

    [John]

    • I like the iPhone but am waiting on the 5 before I upgrade, especially since it's just a couple of months away.

      Closely followed by the 5S just after Christmas.

      • There's plenty of things to slam Apple for, the myth that they refresh products quickly is not one of them. Apple is actually not releasing new hardware fast enough to keep up with Android; once a year for both iPhone and iPad, versus a dozen new Android models each year from Samsung alone. People who slam Apple but give Android makers a pass are hypocrites.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Android isn't hardware. Make some attempt to understand why Apple v. Android is a stupid mother fucking comparison.
          Apple vs. the latest Samsung running android? That would be a valid comparison.
          It's just a s stupid as comparing MS to Apple.

          • by gtall (79522)

            No it isn't a stupid comparison. Most people decide between the two depending on the software, not the hardware whose specs escape most of the buying public.

    • Re:Waiting for 5 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:35AM (#40762931)

      I've got a 3GS also, but am really at a crossroads. I bought the 3GS week one after the launch. At the time it was the exact phone I wanted. Now, though I'm torn... my 3GS screen just cracked and nothing is quite right.

      No point in buying a 4S with the 5 around the corner. (Hell even if i wanted a 4S, waiting for the 5 and picking up the 4S on sale or gently used makes sense. But really.. I don't have a 4 or 4S precisely becuase they added nothing I wanted. And iphone 5 isn't looking to change that.

      The Samsung Galaxy S3 is high on my list and well reviewed, but until they officially announce jellybean for it with a ship date... I'm holding out. I've been burned before on promised upgrades that never materialized. Jelly bean seems like enough of an improvement that I won't settle for for anything less.

      And even the Lumia's -- I actually really like them and am even seriously consideriing one for my next phone, but with WinPhone 8 around the corner, and it already being announced that the existing lumia's won't be upgraded. Again... holding out.

      Right now is just a terrible time to buy almost a smart phone, to the point I'm seriously considering getting the screen fixed on this one. I can hand it down to my daughter or something.

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        I actually considered just fixing my screen as well (crack across the face too). The phone seems to work well enough and there's no problem in general with the software. Unfortunately with my wife leaving, I need to come up with a new contract for me and drop off hers. I just figure it's easier to drop me from the contract (she upgraded to a 4S last year) and start a new contract with a new phone. I am checking out what I might need to do to sever the contract or possibly just get a new contract with the sa

      • by biodata (1981610)
        The screen cracked on my 3GS as well and I got it replaced because luckily I took out the insurance when I bought it. Also, once the 18 months initial contract ran out I got a PAYG SIM, so now I pay 10 per month instead of 35. I plan to never upgrade. My phone does what I need it to.
  • by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:36AM (#40762941) Homepage Journal

    IMHO even if the next iphone is cooler than the previous ones and the competition, there can't be the same amount of emotion over the arrival of a fifth generation of whatever product. The next big thing needs to be different enough from the current way of interacting with iphone and tablets. Apple will still be dominant because apple products say: "I can afford to spend more money than what's needed" and there's a market for that.

    • I think part of it is when some people start asking "What's the difference?". If Apple can't come up with a satisfactory answer for the not-quite-zombified portion of their customer base, a lot of them will jump ship for Something New - even if that Something New is the fifth generation of another company's product.

    • IMHO even if the next iphone is cooler than the previous ones and the competition, there can't be the same amount of emotion over the arrival of a fifth generation of whatever product. The next big thing needs to be different enough from the current way of interacting with iphone and tablets. Apple will still be dominant because apple products say: "I can afford to spend more money than what's needed" and there's a market for that.

      It's not only that, but the coolness/fashion factor Apple has been riding is in danger of sliding over in having the opposite effect when every obnoxious tween and decidely uncool parents and grandparents has the latest iPhone..

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:52AM (#40763059)
    I've heard these stories for years now. "Apple misses targets of financial analysts" except that the the last three words are often left out. They missed the targets of others for years and years with the iPod. If Apple made one gazillion dollars next quarter, the analysts would complain they didn't make two gazillion dollars. Apple themselves does not put out targets like this because the rampant speculation is bad enough now. Other companies also have to deal with analysts' expectations too.
    • by oldlurker (2502506) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:22AM (#40763305)

      Apple themselves does not put out targets like this because the rampant speculation is bad enough now.

      Actually they do, Apple do give out specific guidance and forward looking statements to the financial markets on expected earning targets. For this Q3 Apple said they would be making $34b revenue, and they did $35b, similar for profit - so they beat their own targets.

      But, the problem is that they have historically so consistently given guidance significantly below actual results, quarter after quarter, even very close to publishing the results (and enjoying all the "Apple crushing expectations again" headlines), so that when this time the gap between the Apple guidance and actual results were much much less, it was a negative surprise even to the people trying to listen to the guidance directly from Apple themselves.

      • From all the stories I've read they didn't even note Apple's estimates. They are all harping that analysts predicted 29 M iPhones and Apple sold 26M; however, none of the analysts bothered to mention that 26M is a Q2 record. Forbes [forbes.com] calls out the ridiculousness of the situation.
        • While analysts do live in their own world to an extent, they do listen to the companies. After all, those companies know best as to what is actually happening with their products in terms of numbers sold and all that.

          The GP is right that Apple loved to understate their estimates for a long time. I think it started back when things were not going so well for them and they didn't want to falsely raise expectations (stocks can take a real beating if the company claims they will do well and then doesn't). Howev

      • by tgibbs (83782)

        Often, Apple's estimates incorporate considerable uncertainty about the reception of a new product, and Apple tends to be very conservative about this. But this is a quarter with no major product introductions (the new MacBooks came out too late to have much impact) so Apple should be able to project sales pretty accurately from past data. And sure enough, they did.

        But often with Apple, there are analysts who imagine in the absence of evidence that there will be some huge spike in income. So you see a mini-

      • by rwise2112 (648849)
        Wait! They beat their own targets, but yet are complaining in count that they lost 2.5B because Samsung are copying their devices. So which is it?
    • I've heard these stories for years now. "Apple misses targets of financial analysts" except that the the last three words are often left out.

      No you haven't. This prediction wasn't one from "financial analysts" - this was Apple's own sales forecast. This is only the second time since 2003 that Apple has missed. "Shares in Apple came under pressure after the tech giant missed its sales forecast for only the second time since 2003." [citywire.co.uk] Is it important? Maybe, maybe not - I suspect there are many companies that have missed some quarterly sales forecast in the last few years, it isn't exactly unusual, but it might indicate that Wall Street has overvalue

      • Um no. This is exactly the point I'm trying to make. Your article is another one that fails to clarify that estimation was not Apple's. This Fortune article [cnn.com] specifies Apple's 26M actual vs "The Street's 28M".
        • by chrb (1083577)
          Yes, sorry, it appears your original figure was right, the article I had read didn't make it clear, this article [betanews.com] is more informative. Still, missing the analysts prediction is rare for Apple.
          • Not really. Sometimes the analysts under estimate Apple. This time they over estimated Apple. Last Q2 they overestimated iPad sales even though it was after the holiday season and everyone knew that Apple would release the iPad 2 so they would be selling down existing inventory.
      • This prediction wasn't one from "financial analysts" - this was Apple's own sales forecast.

        This was wrong. Apple Q3 2012 by the Numbers: $35B revenue, $9.32 EPS [betanews.com]: Apple predicted revenue of $34 billion and made $35 billion. The reason this is news is that they undershot the analysts average by about $2 billion, and because they have revised down sales forecast for the next quarter to $34 billion again (ie. flat, no xmas jump). Analysts were expecting continuous growth from Apple, 10 months ago some analysts were predicting Apple revenue growth to $164 billion in 2013, [appleinsider.com] so if growth stalls it will

  • Seriously, what are these analysts paid for. Anyone who knows the slightest bit about about what's happening in technology knows what's happening. The iPhone 5 doesn't even have a huge challenge. All they have to do is make the phone in a nicer metal body (liquid body) and maybe slimmer, which is one thing Apple can be depended on for, since their designs are industry leading. Make the screen a bit larger, make Siri a bit more functional, improve the camera a bit, and other iOS 6 features are coming anyway,

    • by vlm (69642)

      The iPad is still killing the tablet market, over two years after release.

      One of the business analysts I was reading blamed the decline on the tablet market, apparently Apple is about to lose its majority position in the tablet market and margins on tablets have been declining. So... Smaller market share times fewer sold times less profit each equals big market decline. At least thats one interpretation.

      • Well, smaller market share does not neccesarily mean fewer sales. If overall sales goes up Apple may still make more profit.
  • by pastafazou (648001) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:04AM (#40763181)
    I was ready to plunk down roughly $2000 for a new iMac, and they didn't announce it. How many others were also waiting? I realize the iPhone has become the primary source of revenue for Apple, but the iMac still provides a significant amount of money and shouldn't be ignored. If Apple wants to position their products in the upper end of the market, they need to keep the technology inside on the cutting edge.
    • They've already announced the new iMac is coming soon. There were a lot of upset people after WWDC, so Apple released a few modest statements to various press outlets indicating that the iMac has not been forgotten and that people can expect one soon. There are rumors going around that they wanted to hold off until they could make it a retina display, which was going to take a few more months, for some reason.

  • Let's be clear about it. An analyst will say whatever he thinks will be accepted, so they can pretty much juggle with whatever figures and estimations they have, based on pretty much anything.

    More importantly though, and this is becoming more and more rare among (especially big) companies: margin went up from 41.7 to 42.8 percent. The margin is already quite impressive, and they're becoming even more profitable.

    http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/07/24Apple-Reports-Third-Quarter-Results.html [apple.com]

    Other than that

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:31AM (#40763971)

    How come no one ever blames the estimates for simply being wrong?

  • So you mean to say, releasing a new phone every year cuts into selling the old phones?

    I never got a college degree but even I knew that.

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