back to article Apple iPhone sales down by double digits, Mac sales knifed by Intel CPU 'constraints'

Apple crowed over its best three months ever for its services biz, including things like Apple TV and Apple Pay, in its reported results for Q2 ended March 30. Overall, however, Apple had a 5 per cent decrease in revenue from the previous year’s Q2. iPads, meanwhile, continued to experience a comeback as sales were at their …

  1. beep54

    Nobody wants to acknowledge

    that eventually you will get to a point where people don't particularly need to upgrade a product yearly as the old ones are working just fine, thank you. This is when planned obsolescence sets in or the company deliberately "upgrades" your product to be less useful. Late stage capitalism.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Not to mention

      Eventually the market will get to a point where what you sell is a commodity, and you will have to settle for commodity prices.

      Apple has always set its flagship phone at eye-watering prices, but that is less and less justified by the incremental improvements in what you get for the price. I cannot see that this trend continues long term. People are going to come to their senses and stop forking over thousands of dollars for a bloody mobile phone. $200 is more than enough for a phone and it should last five years at the very least.

      1. simonlb

        Re: Not to mention

        Completely agree. Why are some people prepared to willingly throw £1000 at a phone handset, but will fight tooth and nail to avoid spending £200 - £300 on something much more useful such as a set of tyres for their car or a new washing machine?

        1. RFC822

          Re: Not to mention

          Because it's not just a "phone" - it's a network-connected mobile computer, which also works as a camera, alarm clock, navigation device, porn viewer, news feed, social media platform, email client, music player, book reader, payment device, note taking device, etc, etc, etc

          (And both my most recent set of tyres and our washing machine cost around the same as my Note 9)

          1. dajames

            Re: Not to mention

            Because it's not just a "phone" - it's a network-connected mobile computer, which also works as a camera, alarm clock, navigation device, porn viewer, news feed, social media platform, email client, music player, book reader, payment device, note taking device, etc, etc, etc

            But ... but ... that's what a "phone" means these days. the iPhone is just a phone.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Not to mention

        Yes and no. Other markets have reached commodity status (white goods, for example) and you get cheap products, like Beco, Constructa etc. and you still get premium quality products at premium prices (Miele, Siemens, Bosch etc.).

        The commodity products cost a fraction of what the expensive products cost, but often don't last anywhere near as long, don't do as good a job etc.

        But if you sell a quality product in a commodity market, it better last! And, as an Android user, I will concede that Apple have a fairly good reputation of supporting the iPhones for several years.

        That is something the cheap phones can't, generally, manage. The software updates cost money and you need to pay your staff somehow. I do think the Apple products are over priced, but on the other hand, I think the realistic price for a mobile phone with long term support is going to be higher than $200. $300 - $400 is probably going to be realistic for a good phone with long term support.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not to mention

        Yep, these people are cretins. I just upgraded from a Pixel2 to a Pixel3 for £200 via for John Lewis deal.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

      Evem as a geek, I am past that stage. Yes, I have a new phone, but that's more powerful than the PC I had in 2004. The only thing it doesn't beat that PC on is storage, (256 Gb on the phone, likely at least 512 on the PC, but my memory is a little hazy).

      My Laptop is a early 2015 MBP. Apart from a larger SSD and a new display (the old one died), that's more than powerful enough for my needs.

      My PC is one I've built up over the years. The CPU is a Gen 4 core i5, so I'll likely upgrade that soon (they are on Gen 8 now), but it does have a Geforce 1060 and 16 gig of ram, so even though I love to play games, it's more than powerful enough for my needs even if I don't upgrade it. That said, I follow a few Retro computer You tube channels, and one recently built what would have been his dream gaming PC in 2004. It included the same sound card my PC currently has. I probably bought it in 2004, but the trouble is, the sound cards today aren't really an upgrade.

      1. Semtex451
        Thumb Up

        Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

        Upvote for mentioning actual real life desktop PC components on El Reg, rare.

      2. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

        Have a look at the CPU hierarchy at Tom’s hardware, you may find there would be no noticeable change to your PC’s speed with the new CPU. Even after six years, my 3570k is still in pretty much the top bin. The only reason I can see for an upgrade is NVMe and/or more PCI-E slots.

        1. Daleos

          Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

          @Korev. Yeah. Same boat. Still on a 3930k machine after 6 or 7 years. Upgraded everything else twice since then. The only thing I'm missing out other than NVMe is USB 3C and that is not something worth having to replace MB/CPU/RAM for.

        2. anoncow

          Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

          2700X makes the 3570k look old and shabby.

    3. Wade Burchette

      Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

      I also think nobody want to acknowledge that the new iPhones are actually a gigantic step back in usability. And you are being charged over 1000 in all currencies. Sure it may have more power, but nobody cares about that. And whoever thought the notch was a good idea needs to be smack hard in the head for at least a year; hopefully that will knock some sense into him. The same with whoever thought removing the headphone jack was a good idea.

      If Apple sold the iPhone 8 with an upgraded interior and the new features (except the notch and lack of headphone jack and lack of a home button) at the iPhone 8 price, sales would soar.

    4. N2

      Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

      And of course, if you must shit on your own doorstep, then expect to have to clear up the mess or live with it:

      Hard wired ram

      Hard wired HDD

      Hard wired battery

      Just who wants any of that shite?

      1. itzumee

        Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

        you could add glass-backed case

      2. N2

        Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

        Oh and I forgot

        That fucking silly plant pot thing called MacPro 6.1 - ridiculous objet d'art.

        Classic Mac Pro = miles better. my 5.1 still much used and very good too.

      3. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge @N2

        "Hard wired ram, Hard wired HDD, Hard wired battery

        Just who wants any of that shite?"

        It's not that anyone explicitly wants unexpandable gadgets. People have been more and more fascinated by thinner and lighter laptops, tablets and phones for a long time. Obviously soldering the memory or storage chips to the board takes several millimetres less XYZ space. For the same reason the CPU in most laptops (and all mobile stuff) is not socketed but soldered.

      4. JLV

        Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

        You forgot the Touch bar

        I touch-type and have to look up because of the lack of tactile keypress. Paying extra for it (it was $500cad for that and the fingerprint sensor when the model line up allowed you to pick at same feature set) sucks.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody wants to acknowledge

      That eventually you will get to a point where people don't particularly need to upgrade a product yearly as the old ones are working just fine, thank you...

      As an Apple customer I now feel triggered, dismayed and distraught after reading that sentence. Not exaggerating, that's literally the worst thing ever to have been written anywhere at any time. I am outraged and the internet needs to know this.

      I will go back to stroking my XS Max.





  2. Old Timer


    Continued growth in services which achieve close to double the margin of hardware sales

    A wearables business that would be a Fortune 200 company

    It's almost as if weaning the company off being a single product business is a good idea...

  3. Blockchain commentard

    Business advise for Mr Cook

    Timmy, sell them cheap and ripoff the punters on services. You're stuffing it up by selling the i-ecosystem at too high a price point so can't get the newbies hooked initially. Try offering iPhones at $100 each and see business soar.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Business advise for Mr Cook

      Follow your idea to its conclusion:

      Subsidised iPhones > more sales > greater market share. If the market share is too great, Apple will not be allowed to lock users to its services, since it will deemed anti trust.

    2. macjules

      Re: Business advise for Mr Cook

      He is getting alarmingly (for Apple) close the Gil Amelio PR tactic of "Nothing is wrong, This is all a part of our master plan for world domination".

      Right up until the auditors say otherwise....

  4. Headley_Grange Silver badge


    No headphone sockets, new PSU standards, no USB sockets, no memory card socket ....... etc. That's why I haven't bought any new Apple HW for a couple of years and the last purchase was a spare iphone SE. I'd like a new Macbook, but I'd have to bin a load of PSUs and buy some more, plus USB C hubs/adapters for attaching peripherals, USB C drives, etc. I know that in the overall scheme of things the additional cost of the add-ons isn't really significant, but why would I spend so much money on kit which is, for my use-case, compromised from a connectivity perspective? There's no point having the latest super-portable PC if I have to carry around a bagful of adaptors to make it work with the rest of my life safe in the knowledge that in a few years I'll have to bin them when Apple decides that something else is the new standard.

    I'm sure I'm just a curmudgeonly outlier and this isn't the reason that Apple isn't selling as much kit, but it can't help.

    1. Marcus Fil

      Re: Progress

      You are far from alone. What impresses me is even a young (i.e. 20s) relative has realised that the once glittering Apple road leads nowhere and has cross-graded from iPhone to Android; longer battery life, better camera and runs all the Google apps she seems to favour. No consideration of no Apple tax, that was just a bonus!

      Personally I think my iPhone 6s might get a new battery, but I see nothing in Apple's current iPhones that begs an upgrade, especially with regard to price. If a new IOS update cripples my 6s that will just hasten my departure from Apple's eco-system. I am hoping against reason that someone in Apple's laptop department will try tap water over KoolAid and design an MBP for real people; if not, my next new laptop will not be an Apple - for the first time in two decades.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Progress

        Magsafe to USB C adapters are available, but I'm not a Mac user and so I can't recommend them from personal experience, nor am I liable if they start a house fire.

        As a non Mac user, I like it that Apple has aided the adoption of USB C and Thunderbolt.

      2. Rainer

        Re: Progress

        Well, she obviously doesn't care about the Google-tax.

        Eventually, that will rear its ugly monetary head, too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Progress

      I upgraded to an eary 2015 11" MacBook Air about 2 years ago, from the 2010 model I had before. I needed more memory, no other reason really. OK, it's better, but it was quite tolerable (and still is) until too many tabs on the browser kill it.

      As a 6S user (with the battery upgrade), I can put my hand up as one of those who didn't upgrade because the $30 battery was more value.

      Services and other hardware are up, so I think my Apple shares are safe. $14 up today approaching quadruple my average share purchase price. I only wish I had purchased more and not spread myself around the market as much


  5. deadlockvictim

    How about this for an idea...

    Hi Tim,

    Now that Apple is richer than Croesus, why don't put some of that stash of money to good use? You could build infrastructure in Africa and start making it a place that people would like to come to live in (or stay in) rather than a place that people want to either pillage and/or leave?

    Andrew Carnegie went some way towards redeeming the awful life he inflicted upon his workers and competitors with his philanthropic work afterwards. Or do I not understand how Capitalism works? Is it all about winners & losers? Apple has won and so now there is nothing left to do?

    Or if you can only think in a profit-oriented manner, how about laying fibre-optic cable across America? It would be an act that would be akin to building the railroads. From what I gather, in a good many parts of the land of the Free, you are lucky if you even have access to good quality broadband, let alone broadband that is affordable.

    Or are crazy ideas not a part of Apple's DNA?

    Just some thoughts

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about this for an idea...

      How often have you heard "Steve Jobs" and "charitable works" in the same sentence? Never in a good way. Apple is just continuing that tradition. People might knock Gates for multiple good reasons, but he at least is attempting to do good with his good fortune.

  6. Dave559 Silver badge

    My iPhone 6s is still good enough

    My iPhone 6s is still good enough for now, thanks. (obligatory comment, and it's still true)

    I might be persuadable to upgrade in a couple of years' time, but it really shouldn't be unreasonable to expect complex electronic gear to work for at least 8 years nowadays. We only have one planet, so endless consumption of resources partly just for the sake of it isn't really a sensible idea.

    Yes, I would quite like something with considerably better battery life, 24 hour fairly intensive use as a *minimum* (but Apple don't offer that, even though few of us would have any objections to a phone 5 mm thicker); a more hi-res but only slightly physically larger screen (the Plus models are just that bit too big/wide to be comfortable); Touch ID (a much more elegant system than Face ID: if Apple could get an "under the screen" Touch ID working, that maybe would be an upgrade worth paying a bit for); a USB-C connector; and I might just about be willing to do without the headphone jack nowadays (but it's still nice to have).

    But £500 really is about the upper sensible price limit that I'd be willing to pay. I'm happy to be a model or two behind the latest and greatest if you still want to charge slightly more for the "more money than sense" market segment who really want to have the newest and shiniest bling. I don't object to paying a little bit more for Apple gear (especially if it will have a good hardware - and OS/software support - lifespan), and I think it's right that Apple don't try to join the race to the bottom, but they do need to consider the mid-range as well as the top-end (and the ludicrous-end).

  7. johnnyblaze

    I like the way Cook blames litterally everything else for Apple's continued decline - China, Intel, customers holding onto phones longer etc. Apple won't take resposbility themselves obviously - high prices, lack of innovation and sucj like. Personally, I hope the decline continues - eventually they'll have to look at placing the blame elsewhere, and hopefully looking towards home!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      TC is obligated to explain causes during the income statement. There are a couple of downticks in an otherwise good report. The growth is where growth is going to come in the future, so AAPL seem to be on the right track. Market thinks so apparently.

  8. andymcp

    Frankly, I'm going to downvote myself

    I have a current top-tier iPhone, and I bloody love it.

    The notch doesn't bother me at all, I only use wireless headphones anyway and since I stream almost all my music and photos go to some cloudy place, storage just doesn't count.

    It's not a must-have urge to buy all things shiny either - the Apple Watch it's paired to is the original, so old it didn't even get to be called Series 1. I have to use all manner of mobiles with work, and while there's a certain nostalgia in having a play with a 6S, or a Plus, when I pick up one of my old or recent Androids they just feel a bit stuck together in comparison. It bugs the crap out of me. I *should* mock Apple and their stupid design restrictions and crappy walled garden approach, but I don't. I'll happily tinker on Android, but when it's about my personal use and just getting on with stuff, I find I naturally grab the fruity one.

    I'm off to get a job in marketing or recruitment and contemplate life from the comfortable safety zone of the nearest Starbucks (with thoughts shared on Insta, natch). I've obviously ended up in the wrong industry.

    I do feel a bit of a schmuck when I see they made $11.5bn in *a quarter* out of numpties like me though.

    1. Thunderpants

      Re: Frankly, I'm going to downvote myself

      I think this thought process can be applied to a lot of cases. I know Cisco CCIE's that use a BT Homehub or other ISP supplied trash router at home just because they don't want to bring their work home with them.

      My personal preference is Android and has been for many years but I'm not going to bash people for using Apple if that's what works for them.

    2. anoncow

      Re: Frankly, I'm going to downvote myself

      I'm glad you aren't bothered by the notch, but for me it's unspeakably ugly. Never will own a phone with one of those, there are much better alternatives.

  9. Matt_payne666

    Everything is 'Good enough'

    It is fun to have the latest shiny shiny, but realistically its just not needed... PC's, Phones, Internet speed, for average Joe its mostly upgrading for sh1ts and giggles...

    As the chap above points out - Haswell or above Core i series CPU SSD and a slug of memory, VS current gen - yes there is a speed difference (mostly due to NVMe SSD's) but its not so great... same with phones, iPhone 6, Galaxy S7 four years on and they are fine... replacements are down to aesthetics or batteries.

    These days Im replacing laptops because warranties have expired or there is budget to do so... not because i need to!

  10. Rainer

    It's not too bad

    I upgraded to an iPhone Xr - from a 4S.

    Yes, I used it for almost 6 years (got it for free from the carrier back then, before the 5 came out - they obviously had lots of stock...), mostly because I had hoped for an SE-successor (hasn't materialized, yet).

    I sort of miss using the headphone jack and charging at the same time - but battery life of the Xr is so much greater than on the ancient 4S, that it never mattered so far.

    Yes, it's big, difficult to carry and if it slips to the ground, it's most likely to break (that was already true for the 4S, though, and it worked out fine - at a much cheaper price-point...)

    I don't think anybody at Apple hopes that you upgrade yearly. They do have the "iPhone-subscription" - but I don't think they meant this to be the standard way for everybody. Some people like to do that and I guess if you sell your old one at the year-mark, it's not too bad financially.

    Yes, Apple makes a giant profit on any given iPhone - but at the same time, they (try to) make sure that their contractors' employees get paid slightly above standard, don't work themselves to death in a short time, aren't sexually exploited, that their raw-materials' suppliers don't exploit kids, that they actually know their full supply chain (I don't think you can say that of many manufacturers of even much simpler goods) and that everybody in their supply chain follows local laws - and all on 100% renewable energy.

    If you think any of Apple's competitors also do that and even more and can produce cheaper phones at the same time - then I'd really like to see it.

    There's also the fact that, like all big Chinese corporations, this one too is, to a certain degree, state-driven - how much that is the case is unclear. But to deny that would be ridiculous.

    And I don't think that politically, China should be a model for anything right now.

    It reminds me a bit of a "tamer" version of 1930's Germany. Less blatantly racist, a bit less expansionistic, similarly corrupt but technologically quite advanced and with a "strong" leadership.

    As long as one could overlook the first too bits, a lot of people outside of Germany in the 30s really looked at it as some kind of model (which it wasn't, of course, just as I think China isn't really a model, unless you think our achievements of the last 150 years in democracy and pluralism are pretty much worthless).

  11. Gonzo wizard

    Decline in Mac sales

    Primarily driven by (a) outrageous price and (b) rubbish keyboard. Speaking as an Apple buyer for 12 years. My 2015 MacBook Pro will be used for at least another 1-2 years, in the meantime I've picked up the much better priced Mac Mini with 6 cores and 32Gb for the heavy lifting. I can't see me buying another Mac laptop for... quite some considerable time.

  12. Dieter Haussmann

    I have a late i7 2013 Macbook Pro. It was £1700 but a gift upon parting previous employment. It is still pretty much instant in everything I ask it to do. It has only had a new battery that was £27 from Aliexpress. 20 Years ago, PCs were utter junk after 3 years, the beige plastic all yellow, like a hoover bag inside and all the new software was incompatible or ran like a dog. If god forbid anything happenned to it, I would not be able to afford a new one and so would if possible repair this from used parts. A new one would not be much faster it would just be a bit thinner, have fewer ports, more energy efficient and eco whatever biodegradable butterfly keyboard.

  13. JLV

    Let’s see what the new model MBPs look like.

    There’s been rumors of a 16” screen. Possibly the accumulated gripes about various components such as the mandatory Touch bar and the iffy keyboard will be dealt with. Perhaps even, gasp, repricing and/or a renewed focus on modularity and maintenance over thin-at-all-cost? Entry level 15 model at 512, not 256?

    Off to duct-tape my 2011 17” 16RAM 512 Samsung EVO 860 once again. And feed my pet unicorn some of my stash of dream lotus that I’ve been smoking. Powerful stuff.

  14. Disk0

    The Next Big Thing

    will drive sales much more than specs or price. Of course the crucial point is: what is the next big thing? Secure communications are somewhere on the list, as is a a personal assistant that is actively useful, lightfield or 3d photography would draw some attention, waterproof is going to be the norm soon - what else can we think of? AR glasses that actually work and don't make you look like an asshole maybe...but right now we already have 007-level tech in our pocket, and it seems only an upgrade to Sci-Fi level gadgets would get anyone excited. Stuff like cameras looking through walls, hoverphones that fly next to your head, 4K contact lenses and ion propulsion to cut daily commutes from hours to seconds.

  15. sanmigueelbeer

    I've got a good idea how Apple can boost iPhone sales:

    1. Create a "special edition" phone: Let's call it the iPhone XI

    2. Copy the latest version, add a slightly larger CPU chip

    3. Make about 100 million units

    4. RRP US$1999.992999.99 ... comes with a Beat Headphones.

    5. RED color

    In other news, I recently saw an article where the author described the current CEO as a "genius". What I would like to know is what has he done, during his tenure as a CEO of Apple, that he is considered a "genius"?

    1. agatum

      Let's call it the iPhone XI

      That should boost the sales in China. Unless it's shaped like Pooh.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Planned obsolesence ?

    The only reason to replace a phone now is because the bloody screen is broken again.

    1. JLV

      Re: Planned obsolesence ?

      not even. an iPhone SE’s screen goes for about 60-70$cad, installed

      as a matter of fact it pays to be a generation or 2 behind as 3rd party repair shops are much cheaper on older iPhone screens.

      and I don’t know if they handle the X models yet, one shop seems to stop at iPhone 8s. anyone know?

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