Apple Has Record Quarter but Slowed Growth Worries Some

Bolstered by iPhone 14 sales, Apple reported fiscal Q4 revenue up just over 8 percent, to $90.1 billion, with a 7.8 percent increase to $394 billion for the 12-month sales session that ended September 24. “We set an all-time revenue record for Mac and September quarter records for iPhone and wearables, home, and accessories,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts, noting “services notched a September quarter record as well, with revenue of $19.2 billion and more than 900 million paid subscriptions.” Even so, the company’s earnings produced a Rashomon effect as peak performance triggered pique among some.

While iPhone sales were up 10 percent to $42.6 billion in fiscal Q4, that performance was down from a 47 percent increase reported for the same period in 2021, a disappointment for investors, per Yahoo! Finance, which says “recently, Apple has gotten hammered amid reports that the company is cutting back iPhone 14 Plus production and as it negotiates a difficult week for tech overall,” but conceded “the beats on revenue and Mac sales are encouraging.”

The signature iPhones account “for about half of the company’s total revenue,” according to The New York Times, which took a relatively upbeat approach, noting that Apple ended its fiscal year with “sales gains every quarter,” noting profits rose nearly 1 percent to $20.7 billion.”

And despite Cook’s assertion of a record services quarter, NYT informs it was the division’s “lowest ever quarterly sales increase,” while CNBC points out the 5 percent year-over-year growth resulted in a miss of Refinitiv’s $20.10 billion estimate.

“Apple came up short versus revenue expectations in core product categories including the company’s iPhone business and services,” CNBC writes, documenting “shares rose over 1 percent in extended trading.” Apple recently moved to improve its software and services categories by raising rates and collecting additional App Store developer fees (including 30 percent tacked onto NFT sales, NYT reports).

While The Motley Fool transcript of Cook’s Q4 conference call with analysts indicates he touted “very strong double-digit growth in India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America,” some fret macroeconomics are “buffeting the company’s two largest markets, the United States and China, and worry that Apple will be caught in the downturn,” NYT writes. “They predict that the iPhone’s business will dim, just as sales of Macs and iPads have cooled as students and workers return to classrooms and offices.”

“Not surprisingly, even this great consumer brand is not immune from the economic headwinds,” Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi told NYT, offering an insight that may or may not please Cook, but would definitely delight company co-founder Steve Jobs: “Apple is human.”

Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs, president of the Emerson Collective, recently unveiled a website dedicated to the legacy of her late husband that showcases his empathetic side. Still in its formative stages, NYT says the site may “change how influential people burnish their legacies.”

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