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How to make sense of Apple’s quarterly earnings call

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Learn the financial lingo to get the most out of earnings call chatter.
Learn the financial lingo to get the most out of earnings call chatter.
Photo: Kevin Dooley/Flickr CC

During quarterly earnings calls, many executives deploy language designed to puff up, excuse or obfuscate their companies’ recent performance. The goal is to make investors pant with delight over implied future success. And ultimately to give the company more money. Always. More. Money.

But when you’re Apple — with a mind-blowing market cap and a seemingly never-ending supply of hit products — you typically don’t need to craft hopeful-yet-non-material statements or deflect questions designed to get at the bottom line.

Apple’s next earnings call takes place this afternoon. CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri will report on all the numbers. Because of dips in iPhone 14 supplies and no new Macs released between October and December, some analysts expect a slight decline in revenue for the latest quarter.

Wall Street expects Q1 2023 earnings per share of $1.94 to $1.98 (down from $2.10 last year) on roughly $122 billion in revenue (down from $123.9 billion last year).

Note that Q1 refers to Apple’s fiscal calendar Q1, which the company considers to be the holiday season, though most people think of it as the fourth quarter of the year.

Today in Apple history: Second-gen Apple TV hits 1 million sales

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On this day in 2010, the Apple TV hit a sales milestone.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

December 27: Today in Apple history: Second-gen Apple TV hits 1 million sales December 27, 2010: Almost four months after the second-gen Apple TV’s debut, Cupertino says it has sold 1 million of the streaming video devices.

The news shows that Apple’s set-top box is gaining momentum. However, Apple’s PR move is also a low-blow shot at competitor Roku, which recently said it planned to hit the 1 million unit mark by the end of 2010.

Today in Apple history: iPhone comes to the world’s biggest carrier

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China is a massive market for Apple.
Photo: Weibo/Tim Cook

December 22: Today in Apple history: iPhone comes to China Mobile, the world's biggest carrier December 22, 2013: After months of false starts, Apple finally secures a deal with China Mobile to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest telecom company.

With 760 million potential iPhone customers in the offing, the deal shapes up as Apple’s most important yet for growing its brand in China. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook says the country soon will become the company’s biggest market.

“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network,” Cook said in a statement when the news broke. “iPhone customers in China are an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group, and we can’t think of a better way to welcome in the Chinese New Year than getting an iPhone into the hands of every China Mobile customer who wants one.”

Today in Apple history: Apple fixes ‘life-threatening’ Maps glitch

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Australia Park
This probably isn't the spot people wanted to reach!
Photo: Papphase/Wikipedia CC

December 10: Today in Apple history: Apple fixes Australian Apple Maps glitch December 10, 2012: Apple fixes an Apple Maps error that caused several motorists in Victoria, Australia, to become stranded in the remote Murray-Sunset National Park.

The glitch showed the town of Mildura about 45 miles from its actual location. In the aftermath, Victoria police describe the app as “potentially life-threatening.” That’s pretty much the opposite of “it just works.”

Today in Apple history: Apple Store celebrates its millionth online customer

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The Apple Store proves that tech fans like buying things online!
Turns out that tech fans like buying things online!
Photo: Ste Smith/Maxime Raphael/Flickr CC

December 5: Today in Apple history: Apple Store celebrates millionth online sale December 5, 2002: Cupertino says it served its millionth unique customer in the Apple Store online, marking a significant milestone for the company. It is a benchmark worth celebrating for Apple, which launched its online store just five years earlier.

Reaching our 1 millionth customer is a major milestone, and is proof positive that our online shopping experience is second to none,” Tim Cook, Apple’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations at the time, said in a statement. “The Apple Store is a popular way for a growing number of consumers and businesses to buy Apple products, and with extensive build-to-order capabilities, easy 1-Click shopping and free shipping on orders, it’s never been easier to buy a Mac online.”

Elon Musk vs. Apple: Tech battle for the ages! [The CultCast]

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Elon Musk versus Apple on The CultCast podcast: Well, that escalated quickly!
Well, that escalated quickly!
Image: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr CC/Modified by Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: After new Twitter CEO Elon Musk began publicly questioning some of Apple’s policies, he went mano-a-mano with Tim Cook. Maybe Musk’s meme-y declaration of war was a bit premature …

Also on The CultCast:

  • The sad state of iCloud storage.
  • A Twitter phone? Really?!?
  • 2023 MacBook Pro benchmarks reveal a big fat surprise.
  • A totally weird tale about the dangers of walking the streets of New York City with hundreds of iPhones.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

Today in Apple history: iPad Pro makes its big debut

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iPad Pro
The iPad Pro was a big step forward for the iPad.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

November 11: Today in Apple history: iPad Pro debutsNovember 11, 2015: Apple’s first iPad Pro goes on sale after months of speculation about the giant-size tablet. With its much larger screen, professional-oriented targeting and dreaded (optional) stylus, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro represents Apple CEO Tim Cook’s cleanest break yet from Steve Jobs’ vision for iOS devices.

And it turned out all the better for it!

Today in Apple history: Scott Forstall gets forced out of Apple

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Forstall
The disastrous Apple Maps showed Scott Forstall the way out of Cupertino.
Photo: Apple

October 29: Today in Apple history: Scott Forstall gets forced out of Apple after disastrous Apple Maps launch October 29, 2012: Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS software, is ousted from the company after the disastrous Apple Maps launch.

Apple divvies up the roles previously handled by Forstall, who once seemed on a path to the top, among other high-level execs. Jony Ive assumes leadership of the Human Interface team. Craig Federighi becomes head of iOS software. Eddy Cue takes control of Maps and Siri. And Bob Mansfield “unretires” to lead a new technology group.