Apple's Q1 2015 financial results found the company in buoyant mood and rolling in money.
But the phone call between Apple execs and analysts also provided insight into the current state of Apple and what we can expect over coming months.
1. One billion iOS devices have shipped
November 22 was the day Apple shipped its one billionth iOS device, a ‘Space Gray’ 64 GB iPhone 6 Plus, which remains at Apple HQ. Apple might not have Android’s combined numbers, but one billion units is clearly not a niche concern, and App Store revenue was up 41 per cent too.
Given the profitability (or at least the potential for making money) that pervades Apple’s platform, this all suggests most developers will still flock to iOS first and Android second. The likelihood of making it really big remains a lottery, of course, but one you have a better chance of winning on iOS than rival platforms.
2. iPhone will continue to grow
Every year, people reckon the iPhone will lose its allure — people will ditch it for cheaper Android kit, or the market will somehow evaporate or become saturated. To counter this, alongside revealing that Apple had sold a whopping 74 million iPhones in its Q1, CEO Tim Cook noted his company saw its highest rate of iPhone newcomers and the “highest Android switcher rate” in any of the past three launches. (Apple didn’t check back further.) Upgrades from previous iPhones were “barely in the teens” [per cent], too. That doesn’t sound like a market that’s about to nosedive.
READ MORE: Apple iPhone 6 review
3. The iPad’s not doomed…
iPad sales were down again (year-on-year), and Cook didn’t foresee any improvement on the horizon. He reasoned tablets are still fairly new, and their final ‘level’ is unknown, as is the upgrade cycle. He also suggested there was cannibalisation happening, albeit primarily from other Apple products — Mac notebooks and iPhones. So Apple’s scuppering potential iPad sales by selling people something else — not a terrible position to be in.
He nonetheless remained optimistic about Apple’s tablet, saying customer satisfaction for the iPad was “off the charts”, and first-time buyer rates remain very high — even around 50 per cent in developed markets. The iPad massively outperforms rivals in web usage and commerce, and Apple’s partnership with IBM may lead to getting more of its tablets into businesses, to “change how people work” with apps created for specific tasks. In other words, pundits might bang on about ‘peak tablet’, but the iPad isn’t going away any time soon.
4. …But the Apple TV might be
When asked about the future of the Apple TV, Cook said Apple had enjoyed a “solid quarter” with the product, and over 25 million Apple TVs had now been sold. It was also something the company would continue to look at to “find a way to make an even greater contribution than what we are doing”.
That sounds rather vague and not entirely encouraging, unless Apple’s being cagey about the future of this product line. The Apple TV is long overdue for an upgrade, and we have to wonder whether Apple looks at 25 million Apple TVs sold during the product’s lifetime, and 74 million iPhones in a single quarter, and reckons the former’s just not worth the bother any more.
READ MORE: Apple TV beta gets a shiny new interface