Apple's core business shows no sign of crumbling


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The Independent Online

Wall Street didn’t take quite the same bite out of Apple’s share price as those who headed for the exits in after-hours trading after its latest results.

But the acknowledged quarterback of America’s tech team still found itself prone on the playing field spitting blades of grass of its mouth when it opened.

Apple did what Apple usually does when it announced its results, declaring record profits, record sales and just look at our cash pile. China is still hopelessly smitten with the iPhone, but let’s not mention what’s happening to the iPad (sales were down by nearly a fifth).

The trouble is, while a mind-boggling number of iPhones were sold at fancy prices and fancy profit margins, the numbers weren’t quite as stellar as some had expected for Apple’s third quarter.

Worse still, Apple’s forecasts were on the conservative side. This led some to speculate that the company’s incredible growth story might be over. But it isn’t.

Perhaps the biggest problem is just how reliant the company is on its star product the iPhone, which now accounts for nearly two-thirds of its sales.

One thing is for sure; the Apple Watch, for which data was not released, isn’t going to solve it. It’s thought to have shifted something north of $1bn worth of units to the fanbois. But there are no official figures, which tells you a lot.

Still, as the company was releasing its numbers Microsoft was posting a record quarterly loss thanks to the disastrous purchase of Nokia. Yahoo, meanwhile, is still searching for revenues and relevance. They’d probably give an executive share option scheme to be able to trade Apple’s problems for the ones they’re grappling with. Apple’s biggest challenge still appears to be the sky-high expectations its past success has created.