Apple finance

Apple Earnings Report Q2 2024

Thursday’s press release from Apple Newsroom:

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2024 second quarter ended March 30, 2024. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $90.8 billion, down 4 percent year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.53.

The three month year over year from Apple’s consolidated statement:

iPhone $45,963 million down 10%
Mac $7,451 million up 4%
iPad $5,559 million down 17%
Wearables, Home and Accessories $7,913 million down 10%
Services $23,867 million up 14%
Total Net Sales $90,753 million down 4%

Despite earning less, the stock price jumped 6% on the news.

See the Six Color Charts.


Apple Sued for Monopoly

Last Thursday the US Department of Justice announced it was suing Apple for monopolizing smartphone markets within the United States. I’ve spent the last few days trying to wrap my head around how much of this is hype and how much is a legitimate public concern?

From the Office of Public Affairs | US Dept. of Justice:

The complaint alleges that Apple’s anticompetitive course of conduct has taken several forms, many of which continue to evolve today, including:

  • Blocking Innovative Super Apps. Apple has disrupted the growth of apps with broad functionality that would make it easier for consumers to switch between competing smartphone platforms.
  • Suppressing Mobile Cloud Streaming Services. Apple has blocked the development of cloud-streaming apps and services that would allow consumers to enjoy high-quality video games and other cloud-based applications without having to pay for expensive smartphone hardware.
  • Excluding Cross-Platform Messaging Apps. Apple has made the quality of cross-platform messaging worse, less innovative, and less secure for users so that its customers have to keep buying iPhones.
  • Diminishing the Functionality of Non-Apple Smartwatches. Apple has limited the functionality of third-party smartwatches so that users who purchase the Apple Watch face substantial out-of-pocket costs if they do not keep buying iPhones.
  • Limiting Third Party Digital Wallets. Apple has prevented third-party apps from offering tap-to-pay functionality, inhibiting the creation of cross-platform third-party digital wallets.

The complaint also alleges that Apple’s conduct extends beyond these examples, affecting web browsers, video communication, news subscriptions, entertainment, automotive services, advertising, location services, and more. Apple has every incentive to extend and expand its course of conduct to acquire and maintain power over next-frontier devices and technologies.

After investigating the top five complaints…

Blocking Innovative Super Apps: Super Apps provide multiple services including payment and instant messaging services, effectively becoming an all-encompassing self-contained commerce and communication platform that embraces many aspects of personal and commercial life. At the same time they are taking Apple to task, regulators in the US and Europe have also expressed concerns about the overall power of the such super apps and appear to be giving mixed signals over their concerns of privacy and monopoly powers.

Suppressing Mobile Cloud Streaming Services: Although Apple originally put up some roadblocks for Microsoft and its Xbox streaming services, it is now allowed on iOS1. Perhaps there are other services of which I’m not aware that apply here, but it sounds like this is an older grievance that has been rectified.

Excluding Cross-Platform Messaging Apps: Although iPhone’s green bubbles have been characterized as the epitome of Apple’s unfairness — reading into the complaint it appears it’s more about the lack of SMS support in public APIs so that other apps can choose to mix their own propriety message protocols with SMS the way iMessage does. I agree, Apple should open up both phone and SMS messaging for third parties.

Diminishing the Functionality of Non-Apple Smartwatches: This complaint boils down again to restrictions on the public API that Apple’s private APIs don’t have. Although I think it’s absurd to say third party smartwatches only run on bluetooth and “Apple recognizes users frequently disable Bluetooth on their iPhone without realizing that doing so disconnects their watch”2 and has therefore allowed syncing to continue with Apple Watch while bluetooth is disconnected. But really… who frequently disables Bluetooth?

Limiting Third Party Digital Wallets: As explained in the briefing, “Digital wallets are apps that allow a user to store and use passes and credentials, including credit cards, personal identification, movie tickets, and car keys, in a single app.” The complaint alleges that if “financial institutions offered digital wallets, then users would have access to new apps and technologies without needing to share their private financial data with additional third parties, including Apple.” I’d rather share my private data with Apple who believes that privacy is a human right vs. the retailers who are notorious for tracking users.

It appears there might be some legitimate monopolistic behaviour even though Apple doesn’t have a 95% monopoly control of the market the way Microsoft did during the case in 1998. I suspect there will be a few concessions but even in that case, in which Microsoft was found guilty, the end result3 was basically a mere settlement promise from Microsoft to straighten up and fly right. The remaining mystery is, even if Apple is found guilty, will the cure actually be worse for consumers??

  1. in select countries[]
  2. emphasis mine[]
  3. after appeals and technicalities[]

Apple Vision Pro

As Apple Vision Pro, Apple’s revolutionary spatial computer, arrives in stores across the United States, Casey has a cute review:

And if you want a more serious deep dive, check out Daring Fireball’s take or MKB’s video:

Apple finance

Apple Earnings Report Q1 2024

Apple today announced earnings revenue of $119.6 billion. Investors and analysts weren’t expecting any records after Apple warned that revenue would be flat following the longest sales slump in the last couple decades but, it turns out, it was their second biggest revenue report ever.

From Apple Newsroom press release:

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2024 first quarter ended December 30, 2023. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $119.6 billion, up 2 percent year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.18, up 16 percent year over year.

“Today Apple is reporting revenue growth for the December quarter fueled by iPhone sales, and an all-time revenue record in Services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are pleased to announce that our installed base of active devices has now surpassed 2.2 billion, reaching an all-time high across all products and geographic segments. And as customers begin to experience the incredible Apple Vision Pro tomorrow, we are committed as ever to the pursuit of groundbreaking innovation — in line with our values and on behalf of our customers.”

Tim Cook also hinted at some upcoming announcements in AI.

As we look ahead, we will continue to invest in these [Vision Pro] and other technologies that will shape the future. That includes artificial intelligence, where we continue to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort, and we’re excited to share the details of our ongoing work in that space later this year.

Apple has long been working on custom chips that specialize in machine learning but were caught somewhat flat-footed at the speed and popularity of large language models. Perhaps Siri will finally get the overhaul we’ve been waiting for since her introduction on the iPhone 4s in October of 2011. It will be interesting to see the reveal at WWDC this June.

As always, the pretty charts via SixColors.


40th Anniversary of the Mac

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Steve Jobs unveiling the Macintosh, the first successful mass-marketed computer with a graphical user interface. My first “Mac” wasn’t until my 2015 MacBook Pro but as a third grade kid my parents got me an Apple II1 which I loved and on which I learned to code BASIC.

Pricing for the original Macintosh started at $2,495, equivalent to over $7,000 today. Key specs and features included an 8 MHz processor, 128 KB of RAM, a 400 KB floppy disk drive for storage, and serial ports for connecting a printer and other accessories.

  1. Technically it was a third party clone of an Apple II but at that age I didn’t really know the difference[]
Apple crime finance

Ex-Apple Lawyer Responsible for Insider Trading Charged with Insider Trading

David Thomas writing for Reuters:

Apple’s former top corporate lawyer will receive no prison time after pleading guilty last year to U.S. insider trading charges, a judge said on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, New Jersey, sentenced Gene Levoff to four years of probation and 2,000 hours of community service. Levoff was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and forfeit $604,000.

Levoff had admitted to six securities fraud counts that each carried a maximum 20-year prison term and $5 million fine.

A lawyer for Levoff, Kevin Marino, said in an email that they were “extremely pleased” for what he called a “fair and appropriate sentence of probation.”

A spokesperson for the New Jersey U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.

Prosecutors said Levoff exploited his roles as Apple’s corporate secretary, head of corporate law and co-chair of a committee that reviewed drafts of the company’s results to generate $604,000 of illegal gains on more than $14 million of trades from 2011 to 2016.

Levoff ignored quarterly “blackout periods” that barred trading before Apple’s results were released and violated the company’s broader insider trading policy that he himself was responsible for enforcing, prosecutors said.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, fired Levoff in September 2018, five months before he was criminally charged.

When someone uses insider information to trade stocks, it really does take the money from other investors. That $604,000 came from somewhere. As someone bought shares during that time, perhaps the difference would have only equated to fractions of pennies on any given share, but it still makes me glad they caught him.

(via Daring Fireball)


Apple Blocks Android’s New iMessage App

Android has a new app, Beeper, that connects to iMessage. Well, it did for a few days until, apparently, Apple shut it down. It remains to be seen if Beeper Mini has a future.

Chris Welch, writing for The Verge:

On Friday, less than a week after its launch, the app started experiencing technical issues when users were suddenly unable to send and receive blue bubble messages. The problems grew worse over the course of the day, with reports piling up on the Beeper subreddit. Several people at The Verge were unable to activate their Android phone numbers with Beeper Mini as of Friday afternoon, a clear indication that Apple has plugged up whatever holes allowed the app to operate to begin with.

Beeper Mini was the result of a comprehensive attempt to reverse engineer Apple’s messaging protocol. A 16-year-old high school student managed to successfully pull it off, and for a while, everything worked without a hitch. That effort became the basis for the new app, which requires a $2 / month subscription

Beeper Mini used a direct link with Apple iMessage servers, allowing beeper users to access Apple’s exclusive blue bubbles directly using iCloud addresses and no intermediaries.

I’m a little disappointed it’s been shut down because I would really like my Android family (just my brother actually) to get on the iMessage train.

Update: MacRumors confirms Apple shut it down over purported security concerns.

Apple finance

Apple Earnings Report Q4 2023

Apple Newsroom:

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2023 fourth quarter ended September 30, 2023. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $89.5 billion, down 1 percent year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.46, up 13 percent year over year.

“Today Apple is pleased to report a September quarter revenue record for iPhone and an all-time revenue record in Services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We now have our strongest lineup of products ever heading into the holiday season, including the iPhone 15 lineup and our first carbon neutral Apple Watch models, a major milestone in our efforts to make all Apple products carbon neutral by 2030.”

• iPhone: $43.805 billion (up 3%)
• Mac: $7.614 billion (down 44%)
• iPad: $6.443 billion (down 10%)
• Wearables, Home & Accessories: $9.322 billion (down 3%)
• Services: $22.314 billion (up 16%)1

Jason Snell’s 6 Color Charts.

  1. All percentage changes are year over year looking only at the 4th quarter[]

12 Things to Do First with iOS 17

MacRumors has 12 suggestions for what to do now that you’ve updated your iPhone.

Apple humor

Woman Rescued from Outhouse After Climbing in to Retrieve Apple Watch

This story by the AP and commentary by Gruber is just too good to not quote completely:

The Associated Press:

A woman was rescued Tuesday from an outhouse toilet in northern Michigan after she climbed in to retrieve her Apple Watch and became trapped. The woman, whose name was not released, lowered herself inside the toilet after dropping the watch at the Department of Natural Resources boat launch at Dixon Lake in Otsego County’s Bagley Township, state police said Wednesday in a release.

First responders were called when the woman was heard yelling for help. The toilet was removed and a strap was used to haul the woman out. “If you lose an item in an outhouse toilet, do not attempt to venture inside the containment area. Serious injury may occur,” state police said in the release.

Tim Cook had a good line in the keynote last week about people’s attachment to their iPhones and Apple Watches: “If you left either one at home, I bet you’d go back to get it.”

Home, yes. Outhouse, no.

It reminds about the guy who was caught dropping a $100 bill down the outhouse as his friend accidentally walked in on him. The friend asked him what he was doing. The guy responded, “I dropped $10 down there and there’s no way I’m climbing down there for 10 bucks!”