eXtensions - Saturday 30 April 2022
Saturday Comment: The Real Figures from Apple and the Predictions; Hardware-Software Nexus
By Graham K. Rogers
Screenshot of Slow Horses final episode from AppleTV app
I like to link to the tables that Philip Elmer-DeWitt produces showing how close to (or how far from) the figure Apple reports the experts are. There are some wide misses this time. Year by year I wonder, if these are experts, how are they still in business? Yahoo! reports that the The Zacks Consensus Estimate was $94.79 billion for the quarter. As we now know, Apple reported $97.28 billion revenue for the quarter: growth of 5.28%. As I mentioned last time, growth is one of the areas that worries Wall Street.
I was expecting negative reports from Wall Street and analysts this week with Apple's quarterly results due on Thursday, but I was not specifically expecting Trip Chowdry: a gift that keeps on giving. If you do not remember this analyst, he is famous for a prediction that in essence said Apple was doomed if it did not produce an iWatch (sic) in 6 months.
He is back again - just days before the next results were announced - complaining (among other things) that there is no innovation at Apple and investors are relying on income from services. Jonny Evans at Apple Must has the details, but this innovation idea follows just a couple of days from my comments on an article in Seeking Alpha in which an analyst could discern no real difference in performance - granted they look almost the same - between the 2017 and current MacBook Pro with its M1 chip.
Not 5 minutes earlier I had looked at a well-researched article on just this from Bashar Issa on Seeking Alpha who had examined the balance between Apple's borrowing: its investment fund and interest rates. Again, while I may not agree with all the conclusions, this analysis seemed sound and fair. I had been first drawn to the article by the headline which suggested that Apple would not face the same problems as Netflix if there was a reduction in iPhone users. The headline was a red herring and Issa provided no real answer to this specific question, apart from his wider comments on the resilience of Apple.
Another factor is the excitement that such a new solution has generated. This was my motivation for buying the first of the M1 Macs - a MacBook Pro - as there were features in macOS that were specifically developed for Apple silicon. This hardware-software nexus has been more obvious with iOS devices in recent years as Apple plodded on with the Intel Macs; but the new chips picked up many features from the A-series (iPhone and iPad) which, as was obvious from the A7 onwards, would only be available to Apple users: clear advantages in security, privacy and working. With iOS the software integrates closely with the hardware: for example with the camera and security features, especially fingerprint ID and FaceID. This ability to include features solely for Mac users is exciting. We can look forward to more of this as the M2 (and now there are rumors of a 2nm M3) is released.
Apple M1 computers - Image courtesy of Apple
Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2022 second quarter ended March 26, 2022. The Company posted a March quarter revenue record of $97.3 billion, up 9 percent year over year, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.52.
There are some useful insights here. The timelines included questions from analysts, although they are not named. Nor are the respondents, so it is difficult to know with this report if Tim Cook or Luca Maestri is answering although there are a couple of clues, like the use of "granular" (Cook). MacDaily News was more helpful in this respect as it is clear who is answering but not who had posed the question. The timeline is in reverse chronological order. A reader has to start at the end, like the excellent Guardian reports on Formula One races.
Despite the good results some analysts prefer to take the chicken in the barrel approach: any trying to reach the top are dragged down by the others. DM Martins warns in "AppleQ2 Earnings: Great Enough: But there is a Catch" that there are likely to be headwinds in Q3. Apple had already reported this potential drag on revenues so that is hardly analytical skills. See above: the market also warned about falling smartphone sales in China and Apple weathered that one.
As the revenue drags are focused on China, it would be no surprise to me to find that Apple is shifting production to other countries, like Taiwan, Vietnam and India. Also on Seeking Alpha Bill Maurer (usually positive on Apple), in "Apple: Solid Q2 Not Good Enough" also looks at the potential for Q3 reductions following Apple's own comments. However, it is the title that does more damage: the content has a fairly solid analysis.
However I note that colors are different: the MacRumors article shows silver and black; the Apple Store for Thailand shows black only (pre-availability); while DotLife also shows blue, pink (fruit punch) and green. Apple and DotLive refer to it as a 21oz flask, while MacRumors shows 32oz for a PRO version, mentioning other (older) versions, including the 21oz flask at the end.
My locally bought flask, from a high end baker in central Bangkok (shown on the right), that I bought for 1200 baht has lasted well and keeps coffee hot for hours. As I use this exclusively for coffee it would probably affect the taste of water. It seems like a good idea to supplement this with a water flask, particularly one that works with the Apple Health app and can monitor consumption.
Drinking water from a plastic bottle is OK, but I end the day with bottles in different rooms and at my office that are partially consumed, so it is difficult to monitor accurately. Besides, the effort of entering details manually in the Health app is tedious and I avoid it when I can. About the only information I do enter myself is the occasional blood pressure reading if I go for any health check. That used to be done automatically with a blood pressure monitor I had, but which broke after a few years use.
As the first comment mentions, "the random dude down the local shop" invariably does not have the tools to do the job as many in this region may confirm, following shoddy repair jobs. In at least two cases (one of them here) components have not been replaced correctly causing overheating and fire. Apple was of course blamed for this until an independent lab examined the devices. Now that Apple has a full presence here, rather than acting completely through agents, I would rather make the effort (and pay the price if out of warranty) to have a repair done properly.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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