Apple announced its financial results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2016 on Tuesday 26 April. Here, you'll find out how many iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Watches Apple sold during the past few months, how to listen again to Apple's earnings call, and what the numbers mean - for you, for Apple's product portfolio, and for Apple's corporate health.
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: Summary
Apple has posted the financial results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2016. Compared with Q2 2015, unit sales and revenues are down almost across the board.
Overall revenue was $50.6bn, down 12.8 percent on the $58bn made in Q2 2015; net income was $10.5bn, down 22.8 percent on the $13.6bn income the company posted last year.
iPhone sales were down on Q2 2015's (exceptional, record-setting) unit sales and revenues: Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones in Q2 2016, compared with 61.2 million in Q2 2015. That's the first ever drop in year-on-year sales the company has posted.
iPad sales fell again, and Mac sales, which we expected to be flat, were slightly down.
Read on for our analysis of Apple's Q2 2016 results - is this really as bad as some pundits are making it sound? - and then we'll look at each of the company's product categories in more detail.
Apple's Q2 2016 earnings report: podcast discussion
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: Is Apple in trouble?
No. Apple is not in trouble, or doomed, or any of the other clickbaity terms that will be bandied about in the next few days. Nevertheless, this isn't a good set of results by Apple's standards (many other companies would take these numbers in a heartbeat), and there's plenty here to consider.
The company has come up against a few pieces of bad timing. The first is the phenomenal performance of the iPhone 6 handsets 12 months ago, which set a bar that was always going to be hard to match - and after nine years of unbroken consecutive growth, any dip in iPhone sales was guaranteed to be pounced on. Others were discussed by Tim Cook: currency variations; global financial conditions that he called "macroeconomic headwinds". Analysts continue to set punishingly high expectations for Apple sales, and gleefully criticise the company for failing to meet them. And Apple isn't doing as well in China as it would like, or perhaps should be doing.
Further to this, Apple has been growing to rely too heavily on the iPhone, while sitting on a number of issues related to its smartphone line-up that were masked by the success of the iPhone 6. Such as not updating the still-popular smaller-screen version for well over two years; continuing to alternate, ploddingly, between a big full-number upgrade and a smaller S-class upgrade, which encourages lopsided upgrade cycles; and generally failing to offer the bleeding-edge features, boast-worthy specs and all-round weirdness, daring and wow factor (not all of it good) that we often see from Android manufacturers. Steady, sensible improvements make a certain sense when you've got a loyal user base, but you can only keep this going for so long before the desire to upgrade starts to wane.
On the plus side, Apple is doing well in India, an important market for future growth, and the Apple Watch seems to have done fairly well - not specularly so, but better, for example, than the iPhone managed in its first year. The key to Apple's next few years will be how it transitions from being a smartphone-first company into its next incarnation, and wearables could and should be a key part of that.
But there's life in the staples for a while yet. iPhone sales, let's be clear here, were still dizzyingly high. And Apple recently launched new products - the iPhone SE and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro - that could well give a boost to its smartphone and tablet lines. We'll have to see how much of a boost when Apple announces its Q3 results.
Macworld poll: Apple's future
We don't think this is a disastrous set of numbers, but we're interested to hear what our readers reckon. Do you see Apple returning to growth, or plummeting to irrelevance?
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: Predictions for Q3 2016
Tim Cook warned that conditions would remain challenging moving into the third quarter.
Apple offered the following guidance for Q3 of its fiscal 2016:
• revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion
• gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38 percent
• operating expenses between $6 billion and $6.1 billion
• other income/(expense) of $300 million
• tax rate of 25.5 percent
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: How much money did Apple make?
In Q2 2016 Apple made revenue of $50.6bn and a net income of $10.5bn: that's down 12.8 and 22.8 percent respectively on the $58bn revenue and $13.6bn net income the company posted in Q2 2015. (These are significant year-on-year drops, but it's a much bigger drop compared to last quarter - Apple posted quarterly revenue of $75.9bn and quarterly net income of $18.4bn, both figures records, in Q1 2016. But quarter-on-quarter comparisons fail to take into account seasonal variations and the impact of Apple's yearly product release schedule.)
Apple commented on the results in a statement to investors and the press: "The Company posted quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion, or $1.90 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $58 billion and net income of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.4 percent compared to 40.8 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 67 percent of the quarter's revenue."
Luca Maestri, Apple's CFO, added: "We generated strong operating cash flow of $11.6 billion and returned $10 billion to shareholders through our capital return program during the March quarter. Thanks to the strength of our business results, we are happy to be announcing today a further increase of the program to $250 billion."
What we predicted:
Before Apple published these results, we suspected that bad news was likely. "It's very possible that Apple is about to report a quarterly decline in revenue for the first time in 13 years," we predicted - based on forecasts by the company itself.
"During the earnings call for [Q1 2016], which took place on 26 January, Apple predicted that revenue for [Q2] would be between $50 billion and $53 billion, with a gross margin of between 39 per cent and 39.5 per cent. That would represent a decline in revenue year-over-year for the first time in more than a decade. Of course, it's still no mean feat. $58 billion is a tough figure to beat, and the smartphone market as a whole is said to have slowed down as the technology reaches its peak."
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: How many iPhones did Apple sell?
Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones in Q2 2016. Apple acknowledged, non-specifically, that this was a lower figure than last year (in fact Apple sold 61.2 million iPhones in Q2 2015, which gives us a fall of 16.3 percent and the first time Apple has ever recorded a year-on-year drop in iPhone sales) but stressed that this was due to 2015 being such a phenomenal year for iPhone sales: that quarter itself saw 40 percent YOY growth in iPhone sales, a figure that was always going to be unsustainable.
Tim Cook also put a brave face on the numbers by pointing out that, taking Q1 and Q2 2016 together, the upgrade rate for the 6s was slightly higher than the equivalent number for the 5s, albeit clearly lower than for the 6. Apple traditionally alternates between major and minor iPhone generational upgrades, indicated by full-number or S-class branding, so Cook is trying to suggest that things may improve for the iPhone 7.
Bear in mind also that we'll need to wait until Q3 before we can judge the impact of the iPhone SE, which was released in March. Apple's iPhone numbers may still be showing the pain from leaving its still-popular 4-inch iPhone line un-refreshed for so long. But Tim Cook did claim that early sales figures for the SE are looking good: "We're thrilled with the response we've seen on it. It's clear that there is a demand there even much beyond what we thought."
What we predicted:
We - and Apple, and financial analysts around the world - saw this coming. We observed: "Wall Street Analysts are currently predicting that Apple sold about 50 million iPhones this quarter, which would represent its first quarterly sales decline ever, and even Apple forecast the decline when it shared its predictions for Q2 in its January Q1 earnings call."
However, we thought there might be some good news related to the iPhone SE - "We expect to hear some initial sales figures for the iPhone SE during the call, and we suspect they'll have exceeded expectations" - and there were no numbers on that last night - although Cook did say in general terms that demand for the SE is outstripping expectations.
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: How many iPads did Apple sell?
iPad sales were down year on year too. In Q2 2015, Apple sold 12.6 million iPads; this time around it sold only 10.25 million - that's a drop of 18.7 percent. In terms of the revenue that brought in, the iPad department has gone from a revenue of $5.4bn in Q2 last year to $4.4bn this quarter, a drop of 18.8 percent.
What we predicted:
Analysts were about right on iPad sales, and we weren’t expecting fireworks.
"Even with the launch of the iPad Pro in September, and the addition of the new 9.7in iPad Pro in March alongside the iPhone SE, tablet sales are not what they once were for Apple," we wrote.
"Last quarter, Apple sold 16.122 million iPads which was fewer than the same quarter of 2015. iPad sales have been declining, year-over-year for several quarters now, and we're not expecting that to change any time soon despite the launch of the new iPad Pro in March.
"Analysts are currently predicting an average of 10.1 million iPad unit sales, which would represent a 20 percent decrease year-over-year and the ninth straight quarter of iPad sales decline.
"One of the reasons iPad sales are declining is the tablet's longevity, which means current iPad owners are not yet ready to upgrade."
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: How many Apple Watches did Apple sell?
Apple didn't release any specific sales numbers for the Apple Watch in its Q2 2016 earnings call, but analysts believe it has sold between 12 and 13 million units in its first year on sale. Numerous commentators have referred to the product as a flop, but as BGR observes, those sales are "at least double the number of iPhones Apple sold in its first year on the market" and worth about $6bn in revenue assuming an average selling price of $500.
Apple has so far bundled Apple Watch sales figures in with 'Other Products' - a category that also includes Apple TV and iPods, amongst other things. All Apple reveals is the revenue figure in this category (not numbers of units sold) and the figure for Q2 2016 was $2.19bn, an increase of 29.6 percent on the $1.69bn posted last year. The 'Other products' category made $4.351bn last quarter.
What we predicted:
We suspected that watch sales wouldn't be itemised: "We still haven't been given any details on how well the smartwatch has sold. Apple is keeping its sales figures a mystery and may well continue to do so.
"Explaining why Watch sales have yet to be broken down, Apple CEO Tim Cook has told analysts: "We made the decision back in September not to disclose shipments on the watch, and that was not a matter of not being transparent, it was a matter of not giving our competition insight [on] a product that we worked hard on."
We also thought that Apple Watch sales were likely to have seen a boost following the introduction in March of new bands, and a price cut for the Sport model to bring the starting price down to £249.
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: How many Macs did Apple sell?
Sales of Macs were down year on year, but the drop was a little softer than in other categories. Apple sold 4.03 million Macs in Q2 2016, compared to 4.6 million in Q2 last year; that’s 12.4 percent lower. Mac revenue was down 9.1 percent, having dropped from $5.6bn last year to $5.1bn this time around.
What we predicted:
We thought Mac sales would remain largely flat.
"Apple continues to impress us and the rest of the world with its Mac sales, as it has done for almost two years," we wrote. "Apple sold 5.312 million Macs last quarter, bringing in $6.746 billion. During the second quarter of 2015, Apple reported 4.5 million Mac sales, and that figure is likely to stay the same.
"Apple updated the MacBook only last week, and it hasn't updated any of its other Mac products for months and in some cases years, so it's unlikely that we'll see a big jump in sales until the MacBook Pro, iMac and other Mac products are updated."
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: Software and devices
Apple services revenue saw growth in Q2, rising from $4.99bn in Q2 2015 to $5.99bn this quarter. That's an improvement of 20 percent.
Apple made $6.056 billion in revenue from software and services last quarter.
Apple earnings report Q2 2016: How to listen again to Apple's earnings call Q2 2016
You can still listen to Apple's financial results conference call on Apple's website to get the results and hear from Apple executives as they discuss the earnings report and give hints about what's to come.
To listen, you'll need an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with Safari on iOS 7 or later, a Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OS X v10.8.5 or later or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.
Read page two for our full coverage of last quarter's financial results.