What Type of Fan Are You?
So here we are, the night after Apple announced it's Q1 2016 quarterly results. There are quite a few breakdowns of the numbers, and my favorite is Jason Snell's over at Six Colors. In short, it was another hugely profitable quarter for Apple and Apple Watch and TV did great, but iPhone sales were flat and Macs/iPads were down. Overall, Apple made a shit ton of money, but not a lot more than last year.
Strap in everyone, because 2016 is going to be a rough one.
We're going to see lots of articles talking about how Apple is doomed and this is really the top of the mountain for them. It's all downhill from here.
On the other side we'll see articles mocking these takes, suggesting that these numbers aren't a bellwether of dark times ahead and it's only quacks who would say such madness.
I probably fall more on the latter side where I don't think that Apple is doomed. Apple is literally the biggest public company in the world1 and it's absurd to think that they're not only going to keep growing by 20%+ every quarter, but that they'll actually accelerate that growth. I know it's how businesses are judged, but it's ridiculous at a certain point. The bottom line is that Apple is making tons of money, and they made over $18 billion in profit in this "disappointing" quarter. Their profits and revenue may not be growing like it used to, but they're making more than enough money to ensure that they can make more products in the future.
At the end of the day it's really the products that I care about. I'm not going to worry myself with what Apple needs to do to sell more iPhones or iPads or Apple Watches this year. I'm going to worry about how Apple can make those products better. Not that the reporting on financial results isn't important, it is, but it's not something I find terribly interesting and it's not something where I feel like I can contribute much to the conversation. I'm a product guy through and through. I want the companies I like to succeed, but I really just want that so that they stick around and keep making the stuff I love.
I'm not going to look disparagingly at my iPad today and think less of it because they sold fewer of them than before. I'm going to think about what Apple can do to make the next iPad even better. Apple's entire strategy has always been to make the best products possible, and they'll sell because they're the best out there. Apple is an opinionated company and their values tend to line up with mine, which is why I'm a fan.
Apple is a public company and as such they are responsible to their shareholders, but I'd like to think Apple's plan to do that involves more focus on product development and a little less on figuring out how to get everyone to upgrade up just one more model tier.
- By some measures, not all. ↩