Apple Numbers: Sales Fall, Profits Fall Faster, Predictions Beaten

Apple has never sold so many smartphones in a March quarter as this time. At the same time, however, group sales are falling – by three percent to 94.8 billion US dollars. Operating profit fell 5.5 percent to $28.31 billion (previous year: $29.97 billion), net profit fell 3.4 percent to $24.16 billion (previous year: $25.01 billion). There was no change in earnings per share, which was $1.52 per share as in the first quarter of 2022.

This emerges from the quarterly figures for the first three months of the 2023 calendar year, which Apple presented on Thursday evening. For the group, it was already the second quarter of the financial year 2023. For the time being, Apple is only showing the operating cash flow for the two most recent quarters together. It slipped by a sixth to $62.6 billion. The figures were eagerly awaited after the group delivered a poor 2022 Christmas quarter, which was marked by production problems with the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.

This is exactly where there is positive news: Apple was apparently able to shift iPhone sales to spring 2023. This is also interesting because, according to IDC, the overall market for smartphones has fallen by 15 percent. That created a good mood on Wall Street.

Once again, Apple is worried about the Mac: Revenue went down from $10.4 billion in the same quarter last year to $7.2 billion. Apparently it didn’t help that in January the MacBook Pro M2 Max and M2 Pro as well as the Mac mini M2 and M2 Pro were delivered later, which were actually planned for the fall.

iPhone sales reached $51.3 billion (same quarter last year: $50.6 billion), the services business was able to achieve an all-time high for a second quarter at $20.9 billion. With the iPad, Apple lost sales from $7.6 billion to $6.7 billion – there were no new products here. The wearables (including headphones and Apple Watch), home and accessories division slipped slightly from $8.8 billion to $8.76 billion — which is rather unusual as it usually grows steadily.

Apple thus closes an unusual quarter for the group. There was no spring event with new products, just the new Macs in January. The reason is said to be that the company is preparing for its long-awaited mixed reality headset. Apple was still able to beat the rather lukewarm expectations of stock market analysts; In after-hours trading, the shares initially rose by more than 2 percent. Apple CEO Tim Cook was pleased in a conference call with financial analysts about the iPhone record quarter that Apple achieved “despite a challenging macroeconomic environment”.

In terms of installed devices, Apple has reached a new high of over a billion units worldwide. The company will continue to invest for the long term, Cook said. Products and supply chain are to become CO₂-neutral by 2030.

Apple returned $23 billion to shareholders in the quarter through dividends and share buybacks. 90 billion are to follow. The dividend will be increased for the eleventh time in a row, said CFO Luca Maestri, to $0.24 per share. In an interview with CNBC ahead of the company’s earnings release, Cook said Apple still has no plans for mass layoffs, unlike many other Silicon Valley companies. Such measures are only “the last resort”. Apple didn’t provide an exact forecast for the current quarter, but Maestri said it expects sales to fall 3 percent. “We expect our June quarter sales to be similar year-on-year to the March quarter – assuming the macroeconomic outlook does not deteriorate from what we are forecasting for the current quarter today,” he said. “Macroeconomic challenges” exist, among other things, in the areas of digital advertising and mobile games, both divisions in the service business.

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