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Apple Didn't Have As Good A Q1 As You Think It Did

Apple's first quarter of its 2017 financial year was (apparently) full of good news. The company booked record revenue and iPhone sales; saw record Services performance, whilst the Mac stabilised after a period of underperforming the PC market overall.

Except it didn't, not when you compare like for like.

Apple's Q1 2017 was a fourteen week quarter, unlike the corresponding Q1 in 2016. If you correct revenues and sales volumes for the different quarters things look a little less rosy.

For example weekly iPhone numbers for 2017 are 5.592m, in 2016 5.752m. That's actually a drop of 3% year on year and reflects another quarterly fall in iPhone sales. The mix wasn't much richer either, with the average selling price jumping by just $4, barely reflecting the $20 premium that this year's 7 Plus earns compared to the 6S Plus last year.

Mac units look just as bad. Rather than the 1% recovery reported by Apple, it turns out that for equivalent quarters sales are down by 6%. The limited availability of the new MacBook Pro may have held back Mac sales, although a steep jump in average selling price suggests many customers got the new MBP they wanted.

Overall, revenue was down by 4% on a like for like basis.

And then there's the iPad. Despite a hefty advertising campaign, Apple reported sales down by a fifth compared to 2016, even with that extra week. Compared like for like, iPad sales fell by 25%. No wonder Apple is lining up a major refresh of the iPad range.

The Apple Watch and Apple TV, which make up the bulk of other products were also significantly less popular. Probably because the former is of limited appeal and the latter is missing a killer USP.

Apple's numbers are impressive viewed against its competition. However there continue to be signs that it is on a downward slope, one that is now five quarters long. All the fourteenth week really did was give Apple some relief from negative headlines and a potential headache when it reports sales numbers for Q1 2018.


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