iPhones Up, iPads Down, What Can We Learn From Apple's Latest Quarter

Apple had a record Q4 for iPhone sales, shipping just shy of 40 million of them in the three months ending September 30th. Given that the iPhone had a record first weekend - 10 million according to Apple's figures - that wasn't a surprise. There's no breakdown of how the sales looked per device, but it's safe to say that the majority of those phones were the iPhone 6 model.

What isn't clear from these sales numbers is that iPhone sales growth is slowing. In the same quarter in previous years Apple sold 17m (2011), 26.9m (2012) and 33.8m (2013). The rate of growth year on year is 58%, 26% and 18%. Given that this year's iPhone represents the biggest update since the iPhone 3G that's not such good news for Apple. Next quarter will need to be a massive one for the iPhone. For Q1 (which includes the busy holiday season) growth has been 131%, 29% and 8% respectively. For Apple to match Q1 2013 performance it will need to have sold at least 56 million iPhones by the time it reports in January. Something tells me that won't be a problem.

If the iPhone news was mixed, iPad sales were troubling. Sales were down for the third consecutive quarter and also year on year. Whilst the updates to the iPad line up are likely to boost sales (even if only temporarily) I don't think they are radical enough to fix the problems with Apple's third screen. Without major carrier subsidies it's being outsold by cheaper Android tablets because ultimately all of the fancy things that Apple portray users doing in their adverts aren't what customers buy a tablet for.

The Stock Market reacted well to Apple's figures and it's likely that another record quarter in January will send stock soaring once more.

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