Apple breaks historic 13-year streak of growth

The hot streak ends in Cupertino …

Since 2003, Apple has been growing quarter by quarter. To put that time in perspective, we will say that in that year the arrival of the iTunes Music Store was celebrated, which marked the beginning of the massive entrance of Apple in the sale of services. Now the star element of the company, by far, is the iPhone, and it is the fall in its sales that has caused that in this first quarter of the fiscal year the income has been reduced by 13% over the same period of the year previous. This implies going from 58,000 million in 2015 to 50,600 in 2016.

This drop in income also has made profits suffer, going from 13,600 million to 10,500 now. So far everything was going smoothly with respect to the iPhone, but that its sales fall for the first time shows how sensitive Apple’s results are to its performance. Selling 51.2 million iPhones this quarter versus 61.2 million a year earlier is not a catastrophe, but it is a warning from the market.

The problem for the company is that this decline has not been offset by the growth of other products. Despite the launch of two new iPad Pro models, having renewed the iPad Mini and having made iOS 9 much more productive, tablets do not go up in sales this quarter and fall to 10.3 million. Compared to last year there are 2 million drops, but it is more worrying to compare with figures from 2013, in which the family’s sales were close to 20 million.

The Mac, which until now was another of the products that grew, going totally against the trend of the market, now it also falls from 4.6 million last year to 4 million today. The truth is that there are many products in the line that require a renovation. From the Mac Pro, which has not been updated since 2013, to the Mac Mini, which has not been updated since 2014. Laptops, for example, have hardly changed since 2012, and this year a renewal is expected that could boost the range, although Nor has it ever been a decisive factor, since neither the expectation is the same nor the cycles are as marked as with the iPhone.

The good news for the Cupertino company comes from the services area, with which they have entered more than with the line of computers and grew by 20% from the previous year. It seems that Apple Music, which in less than a year already has 13 million subscribers, may be the key that leads growth. From Apple Watch, for the moment, we continue without official figures.

Image: Stuart Maxwell.