Apple (AAPL) has gone from Wall Street hero to zero more times than I can remember. One minute, pundits say AAPL stock has limitless potential because of the company’s new products, such as wearable computers. The chattering class, though, can just as easily bemoan what they consider to be the Apple’s inability to develop products that will blow people’s minds.
But Wall Street is a funny place. People who hate a stock look for reasons to hate it further. Conversely, bulls on AAPL stock and other momentum issues look for reasons to deepen their ardor for their favorite shares.
So, we took a closer look at some of the major takeaways from the latest AAPL earnings to determine whether the shareholder swoon — which pushed shares up 8% — will last:
Has the bottom fallen out of the tablet market? That’s the impression one might get from reading some of Apple commentary.
While the 16% dropoff in iPad sales is not good, it isn’t a surprise, either. Market researcher Gartner noted that tablets running Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system outsold the iPad line by about twofold last year. Apple, though, has always marketed itself as an aspirational brand where quality was more important than mass acceptance.
CEO Tim Cook argued that the iPad decline was the result of lower inventory and tough comparison to a year ago when pent-up demand for the iPad Mini was unleashed to the beginning of the year. He noted that iPad sales came in at the higher end of the company’s internal expectations.
“We continue to believe that the tablet market will surpass the PC market in size within the next few years and we believe that Apple will be a major beneficiary of this trend,” Cook said during the earnings conference call.
The Verdict: Cook’s explanation of the iPad sales drop seems credible, which is good news for AAPL stock. As the economy continues to rebound, many consumers who put off discretionary purchases such as iPads will jump back into the fray. Although Android continues to pose a competitive threat, Apple has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Indeed, the newest iPad is due to be released later this year.
Remember how consumers hated the iPhone 5c? And wasn’t Android’s lead over the iPhone insurmountable? Well, Cook had the last laugh on the haters.
Not only did iPhone sales post a better-than-expected 17% gain, but AAPL gained market share in plethora of both developed and developing countries including the U.S., France, Vietnam and China. Total iPhone sales set a new all-time record in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Overall, Apple sold almost 44 million iPhones in the March quarter, a record.
The Verdict: Apple has apparently sold loads of iPhones in China and a fair number in the U.S. Since Apple is an aspirational brand, as consumers get more confident about their financial futures, they might be even more apt to buy an iPhone rather than a cheaper Android model. Good news, and possibly better news looking forward.