Analysts don’t expect to be wowed when Apple announces the results of its most recent financial quarter Thursday. They predict the company’s revenue declined slightly during the October-through-December period.
Feeding into the prediction is the struggle Apple had meeting iPhone demand during the quarter, which a top market-analysis firm says could have caused a double-digit drop in shipments. Plus, Apple broke tradition by not introducing new Macs.
Apple’s 2022 ended on a weak quarter
The December quarter is traditionally Apple’s strongest of every year. This follows a pattern. New iPhones and Apple Watches are released in early fall, followed by Macs and usually a new iPad or two. This sets up the company for a strong holiday shopping season.
But in 2022, the quarter was mired in difficulties. The iPhone and Apple Watch launches went off as scheduled, but then government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions in China put the world’s largest iPhone factory into total lockdown for several weeks. That so reduced the supply of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, the most popular of the new models, that Apple ran out of them in mid-November.
The result was a 15% decrease in iPhone shipments in the December quarter, according to analysts from IDC.
To add to the slowdown, Apple released no new Macs between October and December. The last time that happened was right after the turn of the century.
Apple looks ahead to a brighter financial future … maybe
Wall Street analysts added these and other factors together to predict Apple will announce revenue of $121.2 billion for the final months of 2022. That’s a 2.2% decline versus the same quarter in 2021. But it’s possible the company will beat that estimate — it has a history of exceeding analysts’ expectations.
Looking ahead, Apple might even recoup much of the lost revenue in the current quarter. Its fans are more likely to wait on products than switch to Android or Windows.
And the wait is generally over. The supply of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max caught up with demand weeks ago. And Cupertino upgraded the MacBook Pro and Mac mini with faster processors in late January. A Mac Pro is supposedly on the way.
So when Apple announces the results for its December quarter on February 2, savvy investors will be listening more to what executives have to say about the future than about the past.