Specious reasoning: Punching your ticket on the Apple doom train


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In Apple’s quarterly conference call with analysts last week, the company announced that it would no longer be providing unit sales figures for iPhones, iPads and Macs. As was foretold in prophecy (or, in this case, a tweet by The Macalope), the caterwauling about Apple converting to the practice followed by almost everyone else in the industry has begun!

Writing for the Forbes contributor network and home endoscopy hobbyist forum, Peter Cohan brings us “3 Reasons To Sell Apple Now.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Tibor.)

Just three? Sounds like someone’s not applying himself. The Macalope would think a real Apple doomologist could come up with a dozen reasons before breakfast. Breakfast might, in fact, be one of the reasons. Or more than one.

“Twelve Reasons Post Toasties Doom Apple.”


Apple just violated three basic rules of running a public company:

They just happen to be ones that Cohan completely made up and are mostly laughably incorrect.

If you want your stock to go up, beat and raise every quarter.

Apple’s shown that it’s less concerned with obsessing over quarterly moves in its share price than it is with making good products and raking in cash. But beat and raise what?

…report higher than expected revenue and earnings growth and raise its guidance for the quarter…

Cohan admits that Apple did beat estimates of revenue and profit. So what’s the problem?

But Apple has a special metric—iPhone sales…

Not anymore!

…(which account for over 60% of its revenues). And on that front, Apple reported a mixed result.

iPhone unit sales are important for Apple’s profit! Apple’s profit beat estimates but unit sales did not! These chickens are terrific, but they’re coming from sub-standard eggs!


Apple Did Not Create Big New Growth Opportunities

To be fair, it’s a little hard to follow up on the biggest revolution in consumer technology in history. Meanwhile, Apple has managed to chug along with hits like the Apple Watch, AirPods and its services.

Finally we get to the new complaint.

Apple Is Trying To Obscure The Truth

Obscure the truth! By reporting the same numbers other companies have been reporting for years! We never complained about them doing it because, uh, well, you see, er, um…

You know what’s great? Swedish fish are great.

Pundits and analysts said the same thing about the Apple Watch when Apple announced it wouldn’t be providing unit sales figures for its wearable category. The Apple Watch went on to become the best-selling watch in the world.

…Apple said that starting next quarter, it will stop breaking out individual sales numbers for the iPhone, iPad and Mac—instead wrapping them into one reported revenue figure.

Apple gave a reason for the decision to obscure the truth with what strikes me as a profoundly weak justification.

Gosh, then what was Amazon’s justification for all those years of rolling out charts with lines that go impressively up against strangely unnumbered axes?

[Apple CFO Luca] Maestri’s comment makes him the Marie Antoinette of CFOs. In case you forgot, Antoinette was the French queen…

Oh, that Marie Antoinette.

…whose response to learning that the peasants had no bread was to let them eat brioche (mistranslated as cake).

Has there been a more foppish comparison than casting Wall Street analysts in the role of starving French peasants? WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE ANALYSTS?!

If Apple insists on taking investors’ attention away from its sagging iPhone sales…

iPhone sales for Apple’s fiscal 2018 were almost 1 million units higher than its fiscal 2017 sales.

You can bet Cohan would like nothing more than to see the undoing of Apple. Why? Because he’s been predicting it for years, having literally used the word “doomed” to describe the company back in 2013. (Not only “doomed” but “more doomed than you think.”)

It is logical for analysts and others to want Apple to provide unit sales and feel put out that it will no longer do so. It’s disappointing. However, it is absolutely a smart business move on the company’s part and it is utterly unfair to subject the company to complaints that Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others never received for failing to give unit figures for years on end.

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