For the past two months, Apple’s stock price has been plunging. Apple announced that they would make at least $4 billion dollars less than they previously said, which crashed the stock. It dropped eight percent immediately in after-hours trading. And they blamed Donald Trump’s trade war with China, battery repair, and a general pessimistic climate in China. It’s no longer the most valuable company in the world. You know, it’s not worth a trillion dollars anymore. There have been a lot of consequences of this recent plunge.
Smartphone sales globally are flat or falling. So Apple may actually be out-performing its competitors like Samsung, but it’s still a change in one of the biggest trends, which is that it was growing every single year. They were selling more iPhones than the year before, and it looks like that has stopped. I think part of it is also, you know, their Mac business is very big, iPad business. You break these out, these are huge companies even without the iPhone. The iPhone is just such a great product. It’s not that they bet it all on the iPhone, that was just the device that grew the fastest and had the biggest sales.
Without a doubt, people are getting less excited for new iPhones than they used to be. And the fact that this year’s split over a couple of models, that it’s unclear what the big new features are, there’s no doubt that excitement for an iPhone launch is not what it was in 2012, 2013. One of the other things that they’re trying to do is they’re trying to say, “Hey, we have all these iPhones out there. We’re gonna be able to sell them Apple Music, and iCloud, and apps, and make money from it that way.” So in that way, they understand how much of a weakness it is to have, 60, 70% of their revenue come from the iPhone, but they’re trying to make money off of those customers through services as well, and that’s a big focus for the company.
I mean, investors are worried. You don’t lose 20%, over 20% of your share price, you know, in a month or two without investors being worried. HomePod did not come out on time. It missed a holiday season, which was critical. AirPower, there’s no word. They announced it September 2017, and we haven’t gotten an update. AirPower and HomePod are accessories. They’re not major lines. It’s not like an iPhone. Just the fact that Apple is visibly not executing on what it said it would do is definitely increasing the risk in investors’ minds that maybe it’s not firing on all cylinders. You also have an issue that the iPhone XR is not selling super well. It’s not flying off the shelves. It’s not that quality has gone down in any way, shape, or form, it’s that how much better is this XR than my iPhone 6S, and at the end of the day, they do all the same things. They text, they download apps, they take photos, you know, there hasn’t been a game-changing new feature. Well, really heavily this year, Apple is promoting a trade-in offer for the phones, which effectively make them less expensive. Which brings the iPhone XR down to, if you get the maximum amount, $450. So they’ve been advertising that $449 price point on its website, and it’s not really the real cost. This is new for Apple. Bloomberg reported that it was a bit of a fire drill over there in their marketing department when they realized the XR was not selling to what they thought it was going to. And if someone thinks that they can get a phone for $450, they’re more likely to go into the Apple store, check it out, and maybe they’ll exit with it.
Even the least expensive Apple phone, for a lot of people around the world, that’s a lot of money, especially when there are devices, Android devices, at under $100. But part of it is, Apple’s not interested in selling to everyone in the world. Apple is a luxury brand. They are giving up huge new markets that they could bring into the Apple ecosystem if they were to put together a less expensive phone.
One of the things they could do next year is really come out with a phone that wows people. The iPhone X, which came out in 2017, was kinda supposed to be that with its edge-to-edge screen and the Face ID, but you know, in anecdotal evidence, people don’t see those as the super killer compelling features. If they want to return to iPhone growth, and really stoke the stock, they need, they need a cool new phone that is markedly different than last year’s. But their big focus for next year is increasing the number of people who pay them a monthly subscription. They’re rumored to be releasing a video service next year, too. In my opinion, they need to come out with hot new products. That’s what they are, it’s a hits business. They need to come out with an iPhone that makes everyone drop everything and say, “I need this.”
Source: Business Insider