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Apple's Annual Sales Fall For First Time Since 2001 (cnn.com) 232

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNNMoney: Apple just posted its first annual sales decline since 2001, the year it launched the iPod and kicked off a tremendous run of groundbreaking products. The tech company revealed Tuesday that annual sales fell to $216 billion in the 2016 fiscal year ending September 30, from a record $234 billion in 2015. The sales decline is closely connected to the falling sales for the iPhone, which remains Apple's largest source of revenue. Apple sold 45.5 million iPhones in the September quarter, down from 48 million iPhones in the same quarter a year earlier. That marks the third consecutive quarter when iPhone sales and overall revenue have declined from a year prior. Many analysts have raised concerns that the global smartphone market is saturated. Customers are taking longer to replace their phones. And Apple's latest iPhone is a dead ringer for the previous two models, eliminating some of the desire to upgrade. The good news is that this sales decline may prove to be a blip and not the new norm. Apple is projecting that it will post sales of $76 billion to $78 billion in the upcoming quarter, up from $74.8 billion a year earlier.
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Apple's Annual Sales Fall For First Time Since 2001

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @08:28PM (#53151235)

    "a tremendous run of groundbreaking products"

    - removed headphone jack to previous generation phone
    - upgraded battery and performance slightly on watch
    - released a more performant iPad

    Nothing of significance -- and that's coming from an iSheep with several Apple products.

    • by tginouye ( 1795058 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @08:33PM (#53151257)
      I think by "a tremendous run of groundbreaking products" they mean starting in 2001 to now. It's up to anyone else to determine how groundbreaking they think the products from the last 15 years are, but at least they've done more in that stretch than just 2016.
      • That's just it: with the introduction of many previous models, Apple introduced some innovative or incremental improvement: better performance, Retina display, Siri, fingerprint scanner, high speed video recording, etc (even if some of those features could be enabled on older phones but weren't because Apple were being dicks about it). Those features must have convinced many people to upgrade early. But the last models didn't bring anything significantly new, except bigger screens for those who want that.
        • That's pretty much the case for most technology offered in the last 5-10 years. Outside of gaming and a few other use cases, there just isn't a real reason to upgrade as rapidly as we did before.

          I'm writing this on a late 2013 MacBook Pro. which, for me, is the longest lasting computer I've had, at least as the one I primarily. Short of hardware failure, I don't expect to need to buy a new model til at least 2018. Though, I may need to replace the battery soon, but that's just an effect of the computer bein

      • Maybe tremendous run of a groundbreaking product. Being the iPod which evolved into the iPhone and iPad.
      • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @08:04AM (#53153621)
        >> tremendous run of groundbreaking products...since 2001

        That's more polite than saying "Apple was peeing awesome sauce until Jobs started pushing up daisies"
    • by x0ra ( 1249540 )
      ... and about $800 more expansive than CostCo crappy phone which still fill 95% of my needs.
    • released a more performant iPad

      "Performant"? [twitter.com]

      • by harperska ( 1376103 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @09:37PM (#53151515)

        "Performant" != "Fast". A performant thing is something which performs well, by whatever metrics are applicable to that thing. A performant algorithm is one that has both low time and space complexity. A performant web browser is one that renders the page quickly while also implementing the most web standards. A performant mobile device is one that is fast while drawing a minimal amount of power so that its battery lasts and it doesn't overheat. So "performant" is a very performant word, as it is a single word that means exactly what it needs to mean.

        • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

          :%s/performant/good/g

          • "released a more good iPad"

            No, I don't think that substitution is more performant than the original.

            • "released a more good iPad"

              No, I don't think that substitution is more performant than the original.

              You could choose a better word.

        • by dfghjk ( 711126 )

          "Performant" is just the latest in a long history of made up words and phrases intended to differentiate. It doesn't mean anything new or special.

          "Perform" and "Performance" don't literally mean "Fast" either, but a "performance car" would be assumed to be fast just as "performant code" would be. Should we now use the term "performant car"? Of course not; we don't need people in the auto industry to look smart doing the same old things. Coders need to be pretentious.

          If "performant" is to mean "does it's

          • by starless ( 60879 )

            "Performant" is just the latest in a long history of made up words and phrases intended to differentiate. It doesn't mean anything new or special.

            LIke people who write "use case" instead of "use"
            (for most uses of "use case" on slashdot).

    • In their defense, upgrading their watch battery hasn't resulted in said watches getting engulfed in flames. That's pretty good when you think about it.

      (Also coming from an iSheep, though I can't imagine ever wanting an iWatch)

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Prior to the last few years, there's been a lot of groundbreaking products with a large portion coming in Apple devices.

      Removing the headphone jack is significant, though I don't agree with Apple on its merits.

      Overall there's been a much smaller increment between product generations in the last few years from Apple in particular, and most manufacturers in general.

      I can think of a few ideas that may be close, but the tech isn't quite there for. Otherwise - what more would we like cell phones to do for us?

  • Courage (Score:3, Funny)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @08:32PM (#53151251)

    "Because it takes courage to take a fall"
    - Tim Cook, 2016

    Yes, I'm joking.

    • Not the best joke of 2016, sorry to tell you. However it takes courage to mostly not innovate and introduce the new iPhones with fanfares at the keynote event.
    • "Because it takes courage to take a fall"
      - Tim Cook, 2016

      From 2012 through 2016, Apple's total revenue was $960 Billion.

      I'm sure the pile of money cushioned his fall.

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @08:37PM (#53151267)
    Maybe they'd sell more. Been waiting to buy a new Macbook Pro forever now - without updates to the MBP line. Took forever for them to update the Mac Pro. Yet, minor dumb improvements once a year to the iPhone like clockwork.
    • Details have already been leaked. No Esc key. Will have to switch to emacs :(

    • = Been waiting to buy a new Macbook Pro forever now

      Better get one before they take the usb of it.

    • I've been waiting on a MBP that's worth replacing my mid-2012 with fully upgraded HD and memory. (my own - not apple's $1k upgrade) Every MBP since then has been flat or downhill in terms of hardware. I think I'm going to go System 76 [system76.com] when I finally can't stand my old MBP anymore and need the hardware upgrades.

  • This doesn't seem like a surprise. You can't expect people to keep replacing $700+ devices every one or two years.

    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @09:21PM (#53151439)

      This doesn't seem like a surprise. You can't expect people to keep replacing $700+ devices every one or two years.

      I think it has more to do with the iPhone 6 generation being a very popular upgrade, mostly due to the larger screen sizes. That was a significant differentiator between the iPhone 4 and 5 generations. The iPhone 7 generation is too similar for many people to want to accelerate their device upgrade plans.

      In short its not that sales of the current generation are bad its just that the previous generation was phenomenal, a spike above the trend.

      • by dfghjk ( 711126 )

        The iPhone 6 was not a "spike above the trend", it was a catch-up design following a trend that had existed for years. The modern iPhone form factors were established by Apple's competitors first.

        That's the root of the problem, of course. Apple once was at the forefront and now isn't. It's most popular upgrades have come from copying its competitors' offerings.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I'm not sure I'd call having a good size screen that every other manufacturer had been offering for a couple of years "phenomenal".

        It's probably the headphone jack. People use it a lot, and they see that the iPhone 7 doesn't have one and the "solution" is a chain of dongles or $120 earbuds they have to charge and void losing, and decide to wait and see what happens next year.

        Samsung must really be kicking themselves for screwing up with the Note 7, at a time when Apple screwed up its flagship product too.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @09:43PM (#53151543)

      Phones are like computers.

      From the 80s to mid-late 2000s, businesses and later people (when it reached commodity prices) often brought new computers every 3 years, despite the massive cost, because the speed bump was so subsequent that it affected productivity. Other than a McD's cashier or Bank Teller at work, almost no one used a10 year old PC if they didn't have to, even if was $5,000 when new and worked as well as the day it came out of the fatory.

      Outside of gamers/artists and other niches, a good (at the time) 2010 computer would fit the masses just fine and the experience would be mostly the same. The same couldn't be said for a 1993 computer in 2000 or a 1999 computer in 2006. Notebooks are a different story due to form factor but getting there. In fact, the biggest upgrade most people will anticipate in a desktop won't be CPU but screen resolution -- soon 4k, but the vast majority of PCs are still using 1080p which probably was the same story in 2010.

      Phones have reached the good enough with iPhone 6. In both screen resolution and speed/ram. I have a iPad 2 from 2011, total PITA for daily use and not suitable for anything but netflix. Browsing is molasses. But I could see using my iPhone 6 for 3 more years without major hassle. Or a modern Samsung for 7, due to super screen res.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @09:00PM (#53151369)

    PRO hardware needs to come back they killed so much like.

    Mac mini server

    Mac mini with quad core cpus

    Xserve and they did not at least say it's ok to run Mac OS X Server in a vm on any base hardware you can run it that way but the licensing restrictions say no.

    imacs with easy to get to disks

    laptops with easy to get to disks.

    a pro workstation (the new mac pro really missed the mark)

    They payed lip service to gameing by making some of a deal of trying to push mac os for gameing but not really having the video cards for it to work well. Say big imac screens with weak video cards, the 2012 old mac pro only had a ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB in the base system.

    • laptops with easy to get to disks.

      Apple still sells laptops with disks? News to me....

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      PRO hardware needs to come back they killed so much like.

      Which would basically end up being a rounding error in Apple's revenues.

      The pro machines never sold well. The Mac Pro had laughable sales,a s does the Mac Mini. Apple really kept them along because of the small by very vocal community who can be guaranteed to buy a few thousand units.

      And if you say Apple keeps sucking at the specs, well, Apple is limited by what Intel has. The Mac Mini i7 dual core is the only processor using the same socket as the i5

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2016 @02:09AM (#53152381) Homepage Journal

        The pro machines never sold well. The Mac Pro had laughable sales,a s does the Mac Mini. Apple really kept them along because of the small by very vocal community who can be guaranteed to buy a few thousand units.

        The purpose of pro machines isn't to sell well. The purpose of pro machines is bragging rights—specifically, being able to say that you build machines that are some of the best on the market, and being able to say that people do amazing things with your machines. But sure, if you want OS X to turn into a passive media consumption platform like iOS, keep dumbing down the hardware. Pro users will start using other platforms to do real, creative work, and eventually OS X will wither and die.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @09:02PM (#53151375)

    I've said it before and I will say it again: Without Jobs Apple is toast. Just like the last time Jobs left. They will continue for some years due to momentum but there is no stopping their fall. Without Jobs they are rudderless.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      jobs didnt leave he was removed cause of all the problems he caused almost tanked the company before the soda pop generation

      • Well, that's sort of true.

        Jobs quit. He was not fired. However, after trying to have Scully fired, the board basically made him Senior Chief Executive Director In Charge of Nothing (i.e., a nice title but no real power or control over anything.) So after spending a few months getting his ducks in a row, he quit and started NeXT, taking various Apple employees with him and entering "the workstation market."

    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @10:10PM (#53151665)

      I've said it before and I will say it again: Without Jobs Apple is toast. Just like the last time Jobs left.

      The original Mac under Jobs' tenure was an utter failure. Lots of press, disappointing sales. Many years after the Mac's introduction the Apple II was still paying the bills at Apple, carrying the Mac project. Jobs' Apple III (note 3 not 2) was a failure. Job's NeXTcube was a failure.

      The Mac only became successful after Jobs was gone, when design features he opposed were introduced. An open box, slots, etc.

      The iMac G3 of 1998 was Jobs' first successful computer. Prior to that he misread the market, the customers wants/needs over and over again.

      That said what really made Macs popular was the shift to Mac OS X, which Jobs deserves some credit for since it was a fork of NextOS, combined with the shift to Intel CPUs. Basically once people no longer had to make a choice between Mac OS or Windows, but could dual boot or effective emulate (the cpu architecture no longer had to be emulated so performance was many times faster) so they could have both operating systems on the same machine. This is when Apple's Mac sales rapidly doubled.

      In short while his record with digital music players and mobile devices is pretty damn good, Jobs' record with computers is pretty spotty, more likely a failure than a success. The Apple II was successful in part because Wozniak ignored Jobs on important design decisions and the Apple II had to carry Jobs for many years when he was able to bully people to get his way and those projects failed.

      • The iMac G3 of 1998 was Jobs' first successful computer. Prior to that he misread the market, the customers wants/needs over and over again.

        I guess it would be fair to say he misread the market during that era too at times, ex: Flower Power and Dalmatian themed iMacs.

        • Actually, I'll add another one: iMac DV.

          When everyone was making mix-CDs, Apple created iMovie and desktop video was going to be the next big thing. Unfortunately, it didn't work out all that well. That's when Apple jumped into music.

      • The original Mac under Jobs' tenure was an utter failure. Lots of press, disappointing sales. Many years after the Mac's introduction the Apple II was still paying the bills at Apple, carrying the Mac project. Jobs' Apple III (note 3 not 2) was a failure. Job's NeXTcube was a failure.

        And of course the Lisa too.

        • Jobs had little or nothing to do with the Lisa. In fact, the Mac was considered a rival project within Apple, even though it built upon significant amounts of the Lisa's R&D.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I've said it before and I will say it again: Without Jobs Apple is toast. Just like the last time Jobs left. They will continue for some years due to momentum but there is no stopping their fall. Without Jobs they are rudderless.

      They were rudderless with Jobs, they just cant hide it under the RDF any more.

      Apple fanboys bang on about the UI, but it's positively horrible. I have two phones, a Nexus 5x on Android 7 (Nougat) and a Galaxy Nexus on Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean). I had to use an Ipad at a bank recently, brand new, latest model Ipad on the latest IOS and using the keyboard was like going back to Android 1.1. It was positively in the dark ages. No tab key, no long press options, numbers were a pain in the backside to get to (

  • This is what "bravery" gets you. People are holding onto their older iPhones longer and likely considering alternatives.
  • That couldn't climb forever...
  • Apple's Q4 has been the weakest or second weakest quarter since 2012. New iPhones are released only during the final month of the quarter and are supply-constrained, limiting the revenue that can be pulled from there. Cook said that Q1 2017 (Oct-Dec 2016 for reasons only known to accountants) will see a return to profitability, and Apple has consistently been spot-on with their numbers. Q1 has consistently been Apple's biggest since the iPhone eclipsed the Mac in revenue.

    Now, if Apple undershoots its tar

    • Revenue dropped from Q4 2015 to Q4 2016, comparable quarters. That Q4 is their slowest quarter is irrelevant.

      In addition, revenue for the entire fiscal year 2016 was lower than fiscal year 2015.

      "return to profitability"? They are quite profitable, they won't be returning to something they already are.

      Apple chooses their end of year to come shortly after the introduction of new phones for a reason, it lets them manage their Q4 revenue and earnings in order
      to make their numbers without pulling too much reve

      • In addition, revenue for the entire fiscal year 2016 was lower than fiscal year 2015.

        And it's noteworthy (as the article mentions, it's the first time sales have fallen in fifteen years). I just don't take it as a sign of Apple's impending doom, or that they're doing something inherently wrong.

        They are quite profitable, they won't be returning to something they already are.

        Yeah, that was poor wording on my part. I meant to say something more like "sales growth". Q1'17 improving over Q1'16 (and maybe Q1'15, who knows).

        Apple chooses their end of year to come shortly after the introduction of new phones for a reason, it lets them manage their Q4 revenue and earnings in orderto make their numbers without pulling too much revenue into Q4 from the next year. Tim Cook is about managing Wall Street, they don't forecast more than a quarter out and make their forecast when the quarter is already 1/3rd done.

        Thanks for helping clear that up a bit.

        there is going to be an end high priced, high margin phones.

        Maybe? Pundits have been declaring inexpensive, "good enough" phones to be the death of high-priced phones for y

    • Q1 2017 (Oct-Dec 2016 for reasons only known to accountants)

      A couple of reasons I can imagine:

      • End-of-fiscal-year means lots of work--more so than end-of-quarter. Not doing this during the holiday season isn't a bad thing for your accounting department.
      • Apple makes most of it's money during the holiday season--people buying computers, phones, watches, gizmos, gadgets, etc. So if a good chunk of your annual revenue comes in one quarter, it can be best to lead off with that quarter in the fiscal year because it will probably give you a better feel for what sort of re
  • <froth>iTunes and Safari have become shit. Nobody I know wants an watch when they can just look at their phone, so an iWatch has no good marketplace. Mac Pro is nothing more than a glorified iMac with its stupid barely upgradable design. The rest of their product line has been stagnating. Whatever internal changes that happened after he died, they need to be rolled back, because the company is going to start hemorrhaging money now if it keeps going this way. I can't imagine how these shit products
  • Apple isn't going bankrupt. The still have PLENTY of cash. They are nearing completion of their new campus. Their stock has SPLIT several times. They have issued dividends as recently as about 2 months ago. Apple could very probably survive many years without making a profit.

    Note: Yes, I am an Apple shareholder (since 1983). No, I'm not even close to being rich.
    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      Apple has cash offshore that they can't bring back without losing a huge chunk of it, so that's more or less virtual money. In America they have less than 20 billions (which is not even 1/3 of their debt).

      Walmart has more cash than Apple in the USA and a lot less debt (about 2/3 of Apple debt).

      Microsoft has 4x more cash than Apple in the country and only 1/3 of their debt.

      It's probably time to sell your Apple stock. Holding to that position for 30 years won't mean a thing once it gets back on a nosedive.

  • by Barlo_Mung_42 ( 411228 ) on Tuesday October 25, 2016 @11:40PM (#53151965) Homepage

    Apple of 2001 made computers.
    Apple of 2016 makes phones. The fact that they're now making fewer phones just means the phone market is maturing as the computer market matured. The real question can the revolutionize yet another industry? Steve Jobs? Perhaps. He was smarter than me so maybe he could've come up with something.

    Not an Apple fan in general but now I feel a bit sad.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Apple of 2001 made computers. Apple of 2016 makes phones. The fact that they're now making fewer phones just means the phone market is maturing as the computer market matured. The real question can the revolutionize yet another industry? Steve Jobs? Perhaps. He was smarter than me so maybe he could've come up with something.

      Not an Apple fan in general but now I feel a bit sad.

      I've said it before, but most of Apple's customers are already Apple customers. 4 out of every 5 iphones is sold to replace an iphone.

      They stopped growing a while ago in existing markets and have run out of new markets to join, they would have started shrinking years ago if they hadn't of started out in the China and India markets. Now that they've been everywhere for a few years their sales are dropping because they've become passe. There are now more people leaving Apple than joining it. All but the mo

  • I have two coworkers that worked at a startup that was bought by Apple. One quit 8 weeks after the purchase, the other lasted 7 months. They said the company is just like the old 1984 commercial. "A garden of pure ideology."

    That does not bode well for a company that has to operate in a free market. And consumer electronics is about as free a market as exists in today's global economy.
  • Or create think tanks and campuses globally to attract really smart staff and design globally with the very best.
    Its not a consumer issue, really great staff would have predicted an emerging downturn and been ready to make a profit in any market conditions.
    A great company needs skilled staff to design the future not provide happy work to average staff today.
    A company top heavy with a policy of been inclusive and hire average staff cant be great with ever fewer really skilled staff.
    Fix software and hardw
  • It had to happen eventually. The phone market is maturing, the economies of the developed world are not in the best shape, so people are holding onto phones longer. The developing worklds is not a magic cash cow either. The market for these techologiesis very competitive; there are lots of choices. Apple's revennue groweth has not been a bubble, but it couldn't go on incresing for ever without constraint. It's no wonder that companies like Apple and Google are investigating where the next big change is co
  • Umm, before you jump to any conclusion it's important to realize that we are heading into a major recession. According to the Buffet Indicator the value of the Market is over 2 standard deviations above the mean. This means we are in a bubble, and according to the Federal Reserve the bubble is presently in the process of popping...

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/se... [stlouisfed.org]

    • Furthermore, to back up the previous statement here is the Fed's graph for the Velocity of M2 Money Stock. Velocity measures the rate at which money changes hands, so if it's low that means everyone is hoarding any money they might have. Looking at the graph you will see that we are at the lowest it has ever been in the 60 years they've been charting this metric...

      https://fred.stlouisfed.org/se... [stlouisfed.org]

      Anecdotally, I have a family member who is a small business owner, and she has stated to me this is the worst ye

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