Transcript: Apple CEO Tim Cook on the company's 2017 Q4 earnings
Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri spoke with analysts during the company's Q4 2017 earnings call. Here's our ongoing live transcript of their remarks! If you want more info on Apple's results, we recommend checking out the awesome charts from Six Colors.
Cook's opening remarks
Good afternoon and thanks to everyone for joining us. As we close the books on a very successful fiscal 2017, I have to say I couldn't be more excited about Apple's future. This was our biggest year ever. In most parts of the world, with all time record revenue in the United States, Western Europe, Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia. We had a particularly strong finish this year generating our highest September quarter revenue ever as year-over-year growth accelerated for the fourth consecutive quarter. Revenue was $52.6 billion above the high end of our guidance range and up 12% over last year. We generated revenue growth across all of our product categories and showed all time record results for our services business. As we expected, we returned to growth in Greater China with unit growth and market share gains for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. In fact it was an all time record quarter for Mac sales in mainland China as well as an all time high for services revenue. And revenue from emerging markets outside of Greater China was up 40%. With great momentum in India where revenue doubled year-over-year. We also had great results in enterprise and education with double-digit growth and worldwide customer purchases of iPad and Mac in both markets. Gross margin for the September quarter was at the high end of our guidance range and thanks to exceptional work by our teams, we generated record fourth quarter earnings per share of $2.07 up 24% from a year ago.
iPhone sales exceeded our expectation. In the last week and a half of September, we began shipping iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to customers in more than 50 countries. They instantly became our two most popular iPhone models and have been every week since then. As we speak, the launch of iPhone X is now underway as stores open across Australia and Asia. iPhone X is packed with innovative new technologies that chart our path for the next decade. Technologies like the TrueDepth camera system, Super Retina display, and A11 bionic chip with neural engine, which has been in development for years, with a focus on deep machine learning. iPhone X enables totally new experiences like unlocking your iPhone with Face ID, taking photos with studio-quality lighting effects, or playing immersive augmented reality games. We can't wait for people to experience our vision of the future. Orders have already been very strong, and we're working to get iPhone X into customers hands as quickly as possible.
Turning to services, revenue reached an all time quarterly record of $8.5 billion in the September quarter. A few quarters ago we established a goal of doubling our fiscal 2016 services revenue of $24 billion by the year 2020 and we are well on our way to meeting that goal. In fiscal 2017, we reached $30 billion making our services business already the size of a Fortune 100 company.
We're also delighted to report our second consecutive quarter of double-digit unit growth for iPad. Customers have responded very positively to the new iPad lineup and with the launch of iOS 11, the iPad experience has become more powerful than ever. With great new features for getting things done like the new dock, Files app, drag and drop, multitasking, and more power than most PC notebooks.
The launch of iOS 11 also made iOS the world's largest platform for augmented reality. There are already over a thousand apps with powerful A-R features in our app store today with developers creating amazing new experiences in virtually every category of apps aimed at consumers, students, and business users alike. Put simply, we believe AR is going to change the way we use technology forever. We're already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect, and learn. For example there are AR apps that let you interact with virtual models of everything you can imagine from a human body to the solar system. And of course you experience them like they're really there. Instantly education becomes much more powerful when every subject comes to light in 3D. And imagine shopping when you can place an object in your living room before you make a purchase. Or attending live sporting events when you can see the stats on the field. AR is going to change everything.
iOS 11 is also allowing developers to integrate machine learning models into their apps with CoreML. Pinterest is already using CoreML to deliver fast and powerful visual search, Padmapper uses CoreML to provide intelligent features that make it easy to find or rent your apartment. And Visual DX is even pioneering new health diagnostics with CoreML, automating scanned image analysis to assist dermatologist's with their diagnosis. These are just a few examples. There is so much more to come.
Next I'd like to talk about the Mac, which had its best year ever with the highest annual Mac revenue in Apple's history. It was also the best September quarter ever with Mac revenue growth of 25% driven by the notebook refreshes we launched in June and a strong back to school season. The Mac experience has become even better since the September launch of macOS High Sierra, with new technologies to make Mac more reliable, capable, and responsive and lay the foundation for future innovation.
Moving on now to Apple Watch. With unit growth of over 50% for the third consecutive quarter, it continues to be the best-selling and most-loved smartwatch in the world. We began shipping Apple Watch Series 3 just six weeks ago, and customers love the new freedom of cellular. The ability to go for a run with just your Apple Watch or go for a quick errand without your phone while staying connected is a game changer. Now more than ever Apple Watch is the ultimate device for a healthy life and is already making a big difference in our customers lives. We're very excited about the upcoming launch of the Apple Heart Study which will use data from Apple Watch to identify irregular heart rhythms and notify users when unusual patterns are detected. Earlier this week we introduce watchOS 4.1 bringing 40 million songs to your wrist through Apple Music. The combination of music streaming on Apple Watch and AirPods is truly a magical experience for people on the go. We're thrilled with the momentum of these products. In fact, our entire wearables business was up 75% year-over-year in the fourth quarter and in fiscal 2017 already generated the annual revenue of a Fortune 400 company.
Late in the September quarter we also launched Apple TV 4K delivering a stunning cinematic experience at home. So now users around the world can watch movies and shows in 4K HDR quality and stream live sports and news on the Apple TV app. There's already a great selection of $K HDR titles available through iTunes and other popular video services with many more movies and shows on the way.
We're also very excited about the opening of Apple Michigan Avenue two weeks ago on Chicago's riverfront. This is the first store that brings together our complete vision for the future of Apple retail, providing a welcoming place for everyone to experience our products, services, and inspiring educational programs right in the heart of their city. In addition to our very popular Today at Apple programming — which is available in all Apple stores around the world offering daily sessions in photography, music creation, art and design, coding, and entrepreneurship — Apple Michigan Avenue is partnering with local nonprofits and creative organization to make an ongoing positive impact in that community.
Also this quarter we expanded our free App Development with Swift curriculum to more than 30 community colleges across the country. We're very excited about this initiative and we're thrilled by the momentum we're seeing. The schools we've launched with this summer are just the beginning. Community colleges have a powerful reach into communities where education is the great equalizer and the colleges adopting our curriculum this academic year are providing opportunity to millions of students to build apps that will prepare them for careers in software development, information technology, and much more.
We're incredibly enthusiastic about what our teams have accomplished this year and all the amazing products in our line-up. As we approach the holiday season, we expect it to be our biggest quarter ever. I'd like to thank all of our teams, our partners, and our customers for their passion, commitment, and loyalty. You've helped us make 2017 a sensational year. Now for more details on the September quarter results I'd like to turn over the call to Luca.
Luca Maestri provides more detail on the quarter
Thank you Tim, good afternoon everyone. Revenue for the September quarter was a record 52.6 billion, up 12% over last year, and it has been great to see our growth rate accelerate in every quarter of fiscal 2017. Our terrific performance this quarter was very broad based, with revenue growth in all our product categories for the second quarter in a row and new September quarter revenue records in the Americas, in Europe, and in the rest of Asia-Pacific segments. We grew double digits in the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Korea, and several other developed markets. We were especially happy to return to growth in Greater China where revenue was up 12% from a year ago, and with our momentum in India, where revenue doubled year over year. We grew more than 30% in Mexico, the Middle East, Turkey, and Central and Eastern Europe. These results have overall growth of over 20 percent from emerging markets. Gross margin was 37.9% at the high end of our guidance range, operating margin was 25% of revenue, and net income was 10.7 billion. Diluted earnings per share were $2.07, up 24% over last year to a new September quarter record, and cash flow from operations was strong at 15.7 billion. During the quarter we sold 46.7 million iPhones, up 3% over last year. We were very pleased to see double-digit iPhone growth in many emerging markets including mainland China, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, India, and Mexico. We gained share not only in those markets but also in Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Singapore based on the latest estimates from IDC. iPhone channel inventory increased by 1.3 million units sequentially to support the launch of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, significantly less than the increase in the September quarter a year ago.
Customer interest and satisfaction with iPhone are very strong, with both consumers and business users. In the U.S., the latest data from 451 Research on consumers indicates a customer satisfaction rating of 97% or higher across all iPhone models. Among consumers planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days, purchase intention for iPhone was 69% — more than five times the rate of the closest competitor — with a loyalty rate for current iPhone owners of 95%, compared to 53% for the next highest brand. For corporate smartphone-buyers iOS customer satisfaction was 95%, and of those planning to purchase smartphones in the December quarter, 80% plan to purchase iPhone. That is the highest score for iPhone in the history of the survey.
Turning to services, we set an all-time quarterly record of 8.5 billion, up 34% year-over-year. Our results included a favorable one-time revenue adjustment of 640 million. On a run rate basis, excluding the adjustment, services growth of 24% was terrific and the highest that we have experienced this year. The App Store set a new all-time record, and according to App Annie's latest report, it continues to be the preferred destination for customer purchases by a wide and growing margin. Generating nearly twice the revenue of Google Play. We're getting great response to the App Store's new design in iOS 11 from both customers and developers. We've seen increases in the frequency of customer visits, the amount of time they spend in the store, and the number of apps they download.
The success of Apple Music also continues to build and we're seeing our highest conversion rate from customers trying the service. Revenue grew strongly once again in the September quarter and the number of paid subscribers was up over 75% year-over-year.
We also saw great performance from our iCloud business with very strong double-digit growth in both monthly average users and revenue. Across all of our services offerings, the number of paid subscriptions reached over 210 million at the end of the September quarter, an increase of 25 million in the last 90 days.
Apple Pay expanded to Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the UAE last month and continues to grow rapidly. Over the past year, active users have more than doubled and annual transactions are up 330%. In the US, 70% of leading grocery chains are now accepting Apple Pay with the recent launch of Safeway. And over five million U.S. merchant locations will be Apple Pay-enabled by the end of this year.
Next, I would like to talk about the Mac, which for fiscal '17 set a new all-time revenue record of $25.8 billion. We sold 5.4 million Macs during the September quarter — up 10% over last year — and gained significant market share of the global market contracted by 1%, based on IDC's latest estimates. This performance was fueled primarily by great demand for MacBook Pro and Mac revenue grew 25% to a new September quarter record. We had outstanding results all around the world, with each of our geographic segments growing Mac revenue by 20% or more. We were also very happy with the success of Mac in the education market where customer purchases grew double digits year over year.
It was also another great quarter for iPad, we sold 10.3 million units up 11% over last year, with strong demand for both iPad and iPad Pro and revenue grew 14%. It was great to see iPad unit and revenue growth in all of our geographic segments and particularly strong results in emerging markets including greater China, where iPad unit sales were up 25% year over year, and India which grew 39%. NPD indicates that iPad has 54% share of the U.S. tablet market in the September quarter, including seven of the 10 best-selling tablets. That's up from 47% share a year ago. Also the most recent surveys from 451 research measured customer satisfaction rates of 97% across iPad models, and among people planning to buy tablets purchase intent for iPad was over 70% for both consumers and businesses.
We're seeing great momentum with our enterprise initiatives. During the September quarter we announce a new partnership with Accenture who is creating a dedicated iOS practice in select locations around the world. Experts from Apple are colocating with this team and together they'll be launching new tools and services to have enterprise clients transform how they engage with customers using iPhone and iPad. Examples include services to build new customer experiences and to facilitate iOS integration with enterprise systems, to help businesses take greater advantage of data from internet of things platforms, and to enable the smooth transfer of existing legacy applications and data to modern iOS apps. And last month we announced a partnership with G.E. to reinvent the way industrial companies work by bring in G.E.'s industrial IoT platform to iOS. The SDK for iOS will enable developers to build native apps to drive industrial operations with more efficiency and speed than ever before. G.E. is also standardizing on iPhone and iPad for its global workforce of more than 330,000 employees. And working with Apple, G.E. is developing iOS apps for both its internal and external audiences to bring predictive data and analytics to workers across a broad range of industries. Beyond our iOS devices, we're also seeing great traction for Mac in the enterprise market, with all-time record customer purchases in fiscal year 2017.
The September quarter was very strong for our retail and online stores which welcomed 418 million visitors. Traffic was particularly heavy during the week of our new product announcements, up 19% over last year. Retail ran a very successful back to school promotion in the Americas, Europe, China, and Singapore. With sales of Mac and iPad Pro up strong double digits compared to last year's program. And around the world our stores conducted over 200,000 Today at Apple sessions during the quarter.
Let me now turn to our cash position. We ended the quarter with 268.9 billion in cash plus marketable securities, a sequential increase of 7.4 billion. 252.3 billion of this cash, 94% of the total, was the United States. We issued 7 billion in new Canadian- and U.S.-dollar denominated debt during the quarter, bringing us to 104 billion in term debt and 12 billion in commercial paper outstanding. We also returned 11 billion dollars to investors during the quarter. We paid 3.3 billion in dividends and equivalents and spent 4.5 billion on repurchases of 29.1 million Apple shares for open market transactions. We also launched a new $3 billion ASR program, resulting in initial delivery and retirement of 15.1 million shares and we retire 4.5 million shares upon the completion of our eleventh ASR during the quarter. We have now completed almost 234 billion of our 300 billion capital return program, including $166 billion in share repurchases.
As we move ahead into the December quarter, I'd like to review our outlook which includes the types of forward-looking information that Nancy referred to at the beginning of the call. As a reminder, the December quarter in fiscal '17 spanned 14 weeks, whereas the December quarter this year will include the usual 13 weeks. We expect revenue to be between 84 and 87 billion dollars. We expect gross margin to be between 38% and 38.5%. We expect OpEx to be between 7 billion 650 million and 7 billion 750 million. We expect OINE to be about 600 million and we expect the tax rate to be about 25.5%.
Also today our board of directors has declared a cash dividend of 63 cents per share common stock, payable on 11/16/2017 to shareholders of record as of 11/15/2017. With that, I'd like to open the call to questions.
Katy Huberty, Morgan Stanley: Luca, when do you expect to catch up with iPhone X demand, and given it's likely to be not in the December quarter, should we think about March, a date better than seasonal revenue quarter, because of that iPhone X ramp? ... And then I have a follow up.
I'll take that, Katie. The ramp for iPhone X is going well — especially considering that iPhone X is the most advanced iPhone we've ever created and it has lots of new technologies in it. And so we're really happy that we're able to increase week by week what we're outputting and we're going to get as many of them as possible to to the customers as soon as possible. I can't predict at this point when that balance will happen. And in terms of March, we don't give guidance beyond the current quarter.
O.K. And in China growth returned to strong double-digits — 12% up — but you've talked historically about that region being more sensitive than others to form factor changes and the new iPhone X form factor was not available in September, so should we assume that growth in that region only accelerates from here as that new product gets pushed into the market?
Let me talk a little bit about Q4 in China to give you a little bit of color on the results. We increased market share for iPhone, Mac, and iPad during the quarter. We hit all-time revenue records for services — for Mac and for the PRC during the quarter. We had very strong iPad revenue growth. We had double-digit unit growth iPhone and both the upgraders and Android-switchers were both up on a year-over-year basis during the quarter. And so the results were broad day. They were pretty much across the board as I indicated. The other thing that happened is the decline that we've been experiencing in Hong Kong moderated. And so it's still down year over year, but less so than it was. And part of that is the compare is an easier compare. And then finally in terms of another headwind that is a little less than it was, currency has been affecting us more significantly last quarter in China. It affected us one percentage point. And so the sum of all that: I feel great about the results. We don't obviously provide geographic-specific guidance, but but you can see from our overall guidance we think we're going to have a really strong quarter.
Mike Olson, Piper Jaffray: Is there any information you can provide on how iPhone X preorders compared to what you saw with iPhone 8 preorders? And then I have a follow up, as well.
Michael, we never go through the mix but I would share with you that the iPhone X orders are very strong for both direct customers and for our channel partners, which as you know are lots of carriers throughout the world and we couldn't be more excited to get underway. And I think as of a few minutes ago the first sales started in Australia. And I'm told we had several hundred people waiting at the store in Sydney and I'm getting similar reports from across that region.
All right thanks. And we're excited about augmented reality and from your perspective and maybe from our perspective on the outside looking in, how do we gauge the success of AR and what are some of the applications of the technology that you're most excited about today? Thanks.
Yeah, it's a great question. The reason I'm so excited about AR is I view that it amplifies human performance instead of isolates humans. And so, as you know, it's the mix of the virtual and the physical world, so it should be a help for humanity not an isolation kind of thing for humanity. As I go through different countries as I've been traveling lately and looking at things, some things in the market other things that are coming, the very cool thing is they're all over the place. I see things that the consumer is going to love because it's going to change shopping. I see things that consumers will love on the gaming side and the entertainment side. I see business related AR apps as well that are going to be great for productivity — between small and large businesses. And I see apps that make me want to go back to K-12 again and repeat my schooling because I think it changes the game in the classroom a lot. And so the real beauty here is that its mainstream and, of course, Apple is the only company that could have brought this because it requires both hardware and software integration and it requires sort of ... giving the operating system update to many people at once. And the software team worked really hard to make that go back several versions of iPhones so that you we sort of have hundreds of millions of enabled devices overnight. And so there's a thousand plus in the App Store right now. I think this is very much like in 2008 when we fired the gun in the overall App Store. And so that's what it feels like to me and I think it will just get bigger from here.
Shannon Cross, Cross Research: A couple of questions — the first, Tim can you talk a bit about how you're thinking in terms of the lineup. You know, you go from — this is for iPhone — you go from 349 to above 1000. And, you know, it appears that you probably sold a fair amount of the lower and perhaps that was to some of the switchers in China and maybe drove some of the growth in China in terms of market share, but how are you sort of thinking about, you know, what went into the guidance for the December quarter — are you seeing really strong demand at the low end and obviously expected benefit from the [iPhone X] at the high end? I'm just trying to understand, because you have such a broader lineup than you've had in prior years.
In terms of what we saw in Q4 you can probably tell from the ASP. We had good success, I would say, through the different iPhones. We've tried hard to have an iPhone that is as affordable as possible for people that really want an iPhone but that may have a more limited budget and we've got some iPhones that are really great for that market. And then we've got three new iPhones and people will look at these and decide which one they want. And so this is the first time we've ever been in the position that we've had three new iPhones at once like this at the top end of the line. And it's the first time we've had a staggered launch, and so we're going to see what happens. But we've put our absolutely best thinking that we have here in the guidance that Luca presented and you can tell from that that we're bullish.
Great, thank you. And then in terms of services — $8.5 billion, up 34% — can you talk about some of the portions of that that outperformed, how sustainable? You mentioned China in terms of significant growth in services, but I'm just curious — you know, that's a pretty remarkable number so I'm curious what the drivers were. Thank you.
As I mentioned in the prepared remarks, there was a 640 million adjustment and there was a one-off change. And it's important to call it out because of course it's a one-off. And so the underlying growth rate for services in the quarter was fantastic. It was 24%, the highest growth rate that we've had for services during fiscal '17. So the business is going incredibly well. I would highlight maybe three of these businesses within services: The App Store set a new all-time record. It's going incredibly well. The number of paying accounts continues to grow very strongly and that's very, very important to us for the App Store business. Apple Music was up — subscriptions were up 75% year over year. We're getting the highest conversion rates that we've had since the launch of the service and so we turned a corner in music. You remember that a few years ago we were actually declining in music — now with the streaming service in addition to the download business, the business is growing again and that really helps the growth rate for the entire services business. iCloud is a service that continues to grow very strong double digits and that's also helping. So we have already become the size of a Fortune 100 company. We set a goal for ourselves to double what we did in fiscal '16 and the trajectory is actually quite positive.
Steve Milanovich, UBS: I wanted to try to push a little bit more on the mix. Could you comment whether the 8 Plus outsold the 8 in the quarter? There seems to be some data that suggests that. And the 451 Research survey that you're alluding to also finds that over the next 90 days, those buying an iPhone 43% are planning on buying the X. Could you comment upon your expectations in terms of the mix going forward and, if you won't do that, perhaps you could comment a bit about your thinking in terms of pushing price elasticity. I think a couple of years ago no one would have imagined selling a phone at this price and obviously you're pretty confident that you can do it.
Obviously I'm not going to talk about mix, it's not something that we've done in the past. If you look at the 8 and 8 Plus, when we launched them they instantly became our top two selling products. If you look at 8 Plus, in particular, to provide a little color there, 8 Plus — for the period of time that we can measure to date — has gotten off to the fastest start of any Plus model. That, for us, was a bit of a surprise and a positive surprise obviously. And so we'll see what happens next. As I mentioned before, we've never had three products and it's only today that the first customers can sort of look at all three of those and I'm sure there have been some people that wanted to do that before deciding even which one. And so we'll see what happens there. But in terms of price elasticity, I think it's important to remember that a large number of people pay for the phone by month. And so if you were to go out on just the U.S., since that tends to be more of the focus of this call, if you look at the U.S. carriers I think you would find you could buy an iPhone X for $33 dollars a month. And so if you think about that, that's a few coffees a week — it's less than a coffee a day, you know, at one of these nice coffee places. The other thing to keep in mind is that many people are now trading in their current iPhone on the next iPhone and the residual value for iPhone tends to be the highest in the industry. And many people pick up $300 to $350 or so for their iPhone, and so that even reduces the monthly payment less. And then obviously some carriers also have promotional things going on. So I do think it's important to try to place it in that context. In terms of the way we price, we price to sort of the value that we're providing. We're not trying to charge the highest price we could get or anything like that. We're just trying to price it for what we're delivering and iPhone X has a lot of great new technologies in there that are leading the industry, and it is a fabulous product and we can't wait for people to start getting it in their hands.
Now I wanted to ask — the street historically has been a little skeptical about continued innovation and you suggested there is more to go. Historically, you weren't first to large screens, you weren't first to OLED. Now, though, you're leading in AR, you're leading in Face ID, which, you know, the all-in a year ago, as some of you guys have suggested, was kind of very reminiscent of the aggressive Apple. Is it possible going forward that you could accelerate share gains from Android because you're now in a stronger competitive position?
Well I think, Steve, we've been in a competitive position and so I maybe have a different view than you do or the folks that you're quoting. There's always doubting Thomases out there and I've been hearing those for the 20 years I've been here and suspect I'll hear about them until I retire. (laughs) I don't really listen to that too much. There's lots of fantastic people here and they're doing unbelievable things. And yes I view AR as profound — not today, not the apps that you'll see on the App Store today, but what it will be, what it can be. I think it's profound and I think Apple is in a really unique position to lead in this area.
Toni Sacconaghi, Bernstein: Just following up a little bit on that question, Tim, you talked a bit about providing a lot of value and that Apple sets its prices according to value, and I think, you know, given the uniqueness of the product you have with the iPhone X in particular, that makes a lot of sense. I guess the question is, given the uniqueness of the value that you have in the marketplace, should we or why shouldn't we expect gross margins to improve this cycle versus previous ones? And perhaps you can talk a little bit about how you think about pricing in the context of gross margin. And I have a follow up, please.
Toni, I'll take that one. When you said, you know, we price our products for the value that we deliver. We also said that every time we launch new products, the cost structure of the new products tend to be higher than the products that they replace. It's inevitable, we we're adding new technologies, new features, and therefore the cost structures go up. We have a very good track record of taking those cost structures and, over the lifecycle of the product, we are able to bring them down. There are a lot of elements in the gross margin line that we have good control over and there are also elements that we don't control. Take, for example, foreign exchange which has been a significant headwind for the company for the last three years now. Also the mix of products that we sell into the market tends to change over time and that also has an impact on the overall gross margin for the company. There are situations where the commodities markets are in good shape. There are situations where commodity markets can be a bit out of balance. We have a case right now around memory pricing, which is a headwind for the time being. So there's many puts and takes. The fact that our services business is growing, it should be a positive because our services margins tend to be [inaudible] to company margin, so there's many puts and takes. We tend to think about maximizing gross margin dollars, because we think that's the most important thing for investors at the end of the day. When we look at our track record over years, I think we've found a good balance between unique grow, gross margin, and revenue, and we will continue to do that as we go forward.
O.K., thank you for that. And then I wanted to revisit this notion of supply and demand and I realize it's very early and you can't make predictions. I think a common investor question is — the iPhone X was made available for sale. It quickly had pushed out availability levels to unprecedented levels versus history. And so I think the really significant question is is that initial push out really a function of uniquely strong demand versus history or is that push out in availability really a function of much weaker supply versus history? So it would be really helpful — you have in the past commented on first 24 hour orders for which there were 4 million plus for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. You have very often on this call talked about targeting when you think you could reach supply-demand balance, so it would be really helpful if you could provide some context in terms of what you know either about initial orders or about supplies versus history that can help investors try and better understand the little data points that they're seeing in terms of availability of the device. Thank you.
The truth is we don't know. We put our best estimate into the guidance and you can see from the guidance that we were very bullish. And so we feel really great about the product line up. And we just sold the first units minutes ago, and so we'll see how things go. Until you get all of them out there where customers have the ability to demo and so forth, I think any kind of mix discussion is very much estimating and so we put our best estimates in, but we've never done this before so there's no comparison here — with either the three iPhones nor the staggered launch. So we all learned something.
Jim Suva, Citigroup: I'll ask my original question and follow up at the same time, because they're slightly different topics. You mentioned a great success in India, I believe, Tim, in your prepared comments you mentioned India doubled year over year. Based upon market analysis, it looks like capital is still just a relatively small sliver of the pie there. So, Tim, what would it take to be even more successful in India? Is it, you know, a manufacturing footprint there with your partners, is it more physical stores, is it lower price points, is it the bandwidth that has now caught up to many other countries, or how should we think about that? And then the follow up question is on the AR/VR, where will it really show up in your income statement? Are you hoping more for hardware sales, or services to the apps, or where that excitement will then monetize it within Apple? Thank you.
In terms of India, many of the things that you mentioned are correct. Growing a market like India is a result of all of those things and doing them all well. And so it's analogous to the many years that we've put into China. It's building stores, it's building channels, it's building market, it's building the developer ecosystem, it's having the right product line up for the market. I feel like we're making good progress there and are gaining understanding of the market. But we still have a long way to go. Which I sort of see as an opportunity instead of a problem. And I do feel great about the growth rate. And so that's India — I think it's all of those things. As you know, we ... started manufacturing the iPhone SE there six to nine months ago or so, and the majority of the iPhone SEs that we sold in the domestic market last quarter were manufactured there. And so we also have that going and are hoping that that winds up saving some amount of money over time and avoiding some of the compounding of taxes, etc.. The bandwidth issue has also been an issue, but as you point out it, is being addressed and between the large carriers there — with Bharti and now Jio investing the way they are — the service in India is materially better than it was just 12 months ago. So there's been a sea change there in a short period of time, so I feel good about all that but we have a long way to go.
In terms of the monetization question on AR/VR, we tend to focus first and foremost on customer experience. And so we are all about making sure the experience is great and we think that if we get the experience right, that revenues and profits will be a result of getting that right. And so we're very much focused on the experience right now.
Amit Daryanani, RBC Capital Markets: I guess maybe to start with on gross margins, Luca year over year revenue is going to be up high single digits at the midpoint; gross margins will be down little. Could you just tell us what are the puts and takes on that and are yield and efficiencies broadly much more severe at this time, versus what you've seen historically?
So we're guiding 38 to 38.5, that's up 35 BPS sequentially. Obviously we're getting the leverage from the larger volumes. As I mentioned I think to Toni, we have higher cost structures every time we launch new products, so that is going to be the offset. And I mentioned particularly the impact from the memory pricing environment which is a headwind at this point. Just to size it for you, the impact of memory on our gross margin is 40 BPS sequentially and 110 BPS on a year-over-year basis, so they are meaningful impacts and I think that is what I think probably you're referring to.
Got it. That's really helpful. And I guess if I could just follow up on the services line, you guys talked about it a fair amount earlier, but even if I exclude the one-time gain it looks like the back half of '17 accelerated by 500 BPS in fiscal '17 versus the first half of '17. Qualitatively or quantitatively, is there a way to think about how much of this is from expanding of the install base, which is one of the three things you mentioned I think, versus more dollar-per-iOS-device that you see?
Yeah I think it's both. As I mentioned, particularly on the App Store, which is very important to us, the number of paying accounts has grown a lot. It's grown a lot because as you said the install base has grown but also because we have made a number of changes that made it easier for our customers around the world to participate on the App Store and be able to transact from the App Store. We are accepting, for example, more forms of payment today than we were 12 months ago or even six months ago, so that's been very important. We also see that there is typical spending curve for our customers when they start transacting on the store. They start at a certain level and they tend over time to get more familiar with the store and they start to spend more. We also know very recently made some changes, as you probably have seen, to the design of the App Store. I was mentioning during the prepared remarks that these changes are being received very favorably and so people now are spending more time on the store, they download more apps, and that over time translates into monetization. But we also have other businesses that are growing very, very fast and actually accelerating — I mentioned music, I mentioned iCloud — and so it all adds up and as you correctly point out. our growth rate is accelerating.
Brian White, Drexel: Tim, I'm wondering if we take a look at Mainland China and we think about iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus — they've been on sale for awhile now — what has been the general response to those two new iPhones and also preorders around the iPhone X in Mainland China?
Brian, I hate to repeat this, but we don't really disclose mix. We view it as competitive information that we want to hold tightly ourselves. In terms of the way the preorder process works in China in the channel — so not not in our direct channel but in the broader carrier channel — they generally take indications of interest versus something that I would label a preorder. So I would hesitate to even quote a number for fear it could be misconstrued. And we'll find out what the supply and demand needs are some time in the future. I don't know when yet, but we're really excited to get going to find out.
And Tim, you know, it's interesting that sales grew 16% sequentially. If you look at the past five years, sales were up 7% in the September quarter so that's an average, yet you didn't have all your iPhones in the market. So if you had to, what would you attribute that to? It's a pretty big disconnect: 16% versus an average of 7%.
Our emerging market performance during the quarter was very strong. If you take China out, it's even stronger. But you can see that China rebounded and as I indicated before, the China rebound was broad-based across products. And so we just had a phenomenal quarter on iPad, on the Mac, on services, on Apple Watch, on iPhone. I mean, literally we're firing on all cylinders. And so that's what that and our new products give us great confidence headed into this holiday season that this is going to be the best holiday season yet.
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Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.
Oh how I wish Apple were a private company and no longer traded publicly. The all these analysts and prognosticators could just go pound salt and infect other companies. Michael Dell did the right thing.
I just wish that Apple wouldn’t push or encourage the subscription model for apps. A non-content-driven app shouldn’t be a monthly subscription. I’d like to just pay for it and it’s mine. A music subscription, for example, is clearly content-driven so deserves a subscription to keep new content coming. But a snooze app or password app doesn’t need to charge per month for its use.
If all software starts to move to subscriptions, I won't be getting it legally. It's daylight robbery when it's not used on a content-driven app, and there's no way I'm supporting it
Thanks for this written version.
Did you notice he wouldn't talk about Android switchers for the first time since he brought up the topic a few earnings reports ago. Seems to me the data is bad and doesn't want to talk about it.