During its Q4 earnings call, Apple’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri announced that the company will no longer report unit sales of its main hardware divisions, including iPhone, iPad, and Mac. This is the same as protocols Apple already follows for its smaller devices, such as the Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod, which are bundled under the “Other Products” category.
“A unit of sale is less relevant today than it was in our past”
The announcement comes after iPhone unit sales percentage was unchanged year over year, despite a revenue bump of 29 percent. The decision to stop disclosing unit sales is because that figure is “not representative of underlying strength of our business,” Maestri said. “A unit of sale is less relevant today than it was in our past,” he says, adding that unit sales increase are still a clear part of Apple’s goals.
“This is a little bit like if you go to the market and you push your cart up to the cashier and [they say] ‘How many units you have in there?’” CEO Tim Cook adds. “It doesn’t matter a lot how many units are in there in terms of the overall value of what’s in the cart.” Uh, right, Tim. Whatever you say.
While unit sales may not accurately represent Apple’s business performance, it’s a figure that analysts and journalists have used to calculate a product’s average selling price. For example, that number can provide insight into how well different iPhone models are selling, as newer iPhones like the XS, XS Max, and XR are priced higher than older models like the now-discontinued SE, 6S, and 6.
With the upcoming holiday quarter, it will be a bit harder for analysts to measure how well the newly announced Apple hardware from this fall season sold. For its part, Maestri say Apple’s smartphone, laptop, and tablet competitors do not offer unit sales figures in their earnings reports, either.