Commentary

Bullish Report From Apple As iPhone X Hits The Shelves Today

Apple announced fourth-quarter earnings that were higher than expected yesterday, sending its stock soaring to a new record in after-hours trading. And that was before the mostly well-reviewed, short-in-supply, super-premium iPhone X went on sale around the world to the queued-up fanboys this morning.

“With fantastic new products including iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K joining our product lineup, we’re looking forward to a great holiday season, and with the launch of iPhone X getting underway right now, we couldn’t be more excited as we begin to deliver our vision for the future with this stunning device,” CEO Tim Cook said in the release announcing the results.

“And it doesn't expect to slow down: Revenue guidance for next quarter was also on the high end of estimates,” Anita Balakrishnan reports for CNBC.com. “We're very bullish,” Cook said on a conference call late yesterday. A full transcript of that call is available on Seeking Alpha

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“The most important number Apple will share today for investors is the forecast for the fiscal first quarter. Analysts currently expect Apple to record revenue of $85.8 billion in the holiday shopping quarter, which would easily be a record — Apple has never had as much as $80 billion in quarterly revenue before,” Jeremy C. Owens liveblogged for MarketWatch at 4:20 p.m. PDT before the results were posted. “Forecast: $84B-$87B – that’s good,” he wrote when the numbers were released 10 minutes later.

“Apple sold just a few more iPhones than Wall Street expected but made way more money anyway. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus ‘instantly’ became Apple's top-two selling products at launch, surprising even executives, Cook said, CNBC’s Balakrishnan reports. 

The services division, which has been the company’s second strongest source of revenue behind iPhones since it passed Mac sales in April 2016, continues to roll. 

“Revenue from its services division came in at $8.5 billion in the past quarter, a 34% year over year increase,” Natt Garun reports for The Verge. “That revenue is now more than both iPad and Apple’s ‘other products’ division — which includes AirPods and other accessories, Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPod touch, and Beats products — combined.” 

Meanwhile, “long, snaking lines formed outside Apple stores in Asia early on Friday as fans flocked to buy the new iPhone X, a turnout that contrasts with the more lackluster launches for the past two iterations of the premium smartphone,” Reuters’s Tom Westbrook and Pei Li report.

“In Australia, around 400 people queued outside Apple’s flagship store in central Sydney to pay A$1,579 ($1,218) for the 10th-anniversary model, a glass-and-stainless-steel device that … Cook billed as ‘the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.’ Just 30 people turned up for the September release of the iPhone 8, an incremental update of the iPhone 7.”

“Lines at the Apple Store in Shibuya district in Tokyo stretched to at least two streets away,” Claire Reilly, Katie Collins, Aloysius Low and Zoey Chong report for CNET. “Over in Beijing, queue lines at the Apple Store in Sanlitun weren't as crazy long as they were in Japan,” they write — but there are five stores in the city to absorb the demand.

“Everything Apple does, I accept, because everything Apple designs, is the best,” said “serial Apple queuer” and quintessential fanboy Lloyd Yu, 31, who was first in line.

“The Super Bowl for Apple is the iPhone X,” GBH analyst Daniel Ives tells the AP’s Michael Liedtke and Tali Arbel in a story published by the Washington Post. “That is the potential game changer.”

“But it also brings a potential stumbling block. While conspiracy theorists might suspect that Apple is artificially reducing supply to generate buzz, analysts say the real reason is that Apple’s suppliers so far haven’t been able to manufacture the iPhone X quickly enough,” Liedtke and Arbel continue. That’s because of the new “color-popping OLED screen” and the components needed for the facial-recognition technology that unlocks the device.

“The iPhone X Is Cool. That Doesn’t Mean You Are Ready for It,” reads the hed over Brian X. Chen’s review in the New York Times. After testing it for two days, this is Chen’s “verdict”: “Splurge on the iPhone X if you care about having a phone with the fanciest mobile camera in a compact body. The iPhone X’s camera is superior to the one on the iPhone 8 Plus, and yet the iPhone X is smaller, which makes it easier to carry around.”

James Titcomb’s extensive review of the iPhone X in the U.K’s Telegraph is a bit more unequivocally positive and is well summed up in the subhed: “If any phone is worth £1,000, this is it.”

Looks like it’s going to be a merry holiday season in Cupertino.

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