Apple appears to be surviving the financial storm, but with some hiccups. In its fiscal fourth quarter, the corporation recorded record-high sales of $90.1 billion, with a net profit of $20.7 billion. While these were relatively minor improvements over the same period last year (revenue was up ‘only’ 8%), they came amid a challenging economic environment and near-flat sales growth in the prior quarter.
The problems originate mostly from inconsistent performance throughout Apple’s product portfolio. It’s no surprise that the iPhone 14 launch boosted the company’s mobile sales ($42.6 billion against $38.9 billion last summer), but other categories were turbulent. While the MacBook Air M2 boosted Mac revenue by 25% to $11.5 billion, iPad sales declined dramatically, falling to a little about $7.2 billion from over $8.3 billion the previous year. And, while services like Apple Music and TV+ established a new high of $19.2 billion, that’s still a marginal increase over the previous year’s $18.3 billion. Apple Watch and smart home gadget sales increased significantly from $8.8 billion to $9.7 billion.
At the very least, the consumer base looks to be substantial. CFO Luca Maestri stated on Apple’s earnings call that nearly half of Mac and iPad purchasers were new to the platform. In addition, the corporation boasted an all-time (but unidentified) a high number of active devices. CEO Tim Cook stated that despite limited supplies for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, phone sales were robust.
The autumn (Apple’s first fiscal quarter in 2023) might be more promising. Apple unveiled new iPads in October this year, after updating models in September last year, so we should expect a boost in tablet sales. Cook also stated that last year was “unusually strong” due to the release of the iPad Pro M1. Because the iPhone 14 family was only available for eight days during the fourth quarter, overall iPhone sales should increase.
Apple isn’t out of the woods yet. It is still recruiting more carefully, and supply concerns (particularly for the Apple Watch Ultra, according to Cook) may linger for some time. It’s also uncertain how customers will react to handsets such as the iPhone 14 Plus, which won’t be available until later this month. Nonetheless, Apple may be pleased. According to Gartner, the PC market fell 19.5 percent during the quarter, while Canalys says smartphone shipments fell 9 percent. If those data are correct, Apple is doing well just by avoiding dramatic losses in most categories.