7 things you need to know about Apple today (Q3 2018 edition)

The iPhone X gamble is paying off, but Apple's the neglect of the Mac has had a huge negative effect. Tim Cook also calls for "calm heads" to prevail over tariffs.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

While Apple's earnings report is where we get the raw facts about how the company is doing, there can be some real nuggets of information buried in the follow-up conference call.

Must read: Everything you need to know about buying Apple's 2018 MacBook Pro

#1: The iPhone X gamble paid off

Think whatever you will of a $1,000+ smartphone, but people are buying them at a heck of a rate.

"iPhone X was the most popular iPhone in the quarter once again, with a customer satisfaction score of 98 percent according to 451 Research." - Tim Cook, CEO

And China love the iPhone X:

"If you look at it on a geographic basis, the top three selling phones in urban China were iPhone, where iPhone X was number one and has been for a couple of quarters, and iPhones make up three of the top five smartphones in the U.S., UK and Japan." - Tim Cook

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#2: There's a hint that the MacBook Pro refresh was delayed

Despite Maestri subtly pointing the finger at a late MacBook Pro refresh unveiling as affecting performance, Apple is putting on a brave face despite awful Mac sales.

"Our year-over-year sales performance was impacted by the different timing of the MacBook Pro launch which did not occur until early Q4 this year as opposed to June last year, with the subsequent channel fill during the June quarter. Even with a difficult launch comparison, we saw great momentum in many emerging markets, with growth well into double digits and we established new June quarter records for Mac sales in India, Turkey, Chile and Central and Eastern Europe." - Luca Maestri, CFO

#3: "The iPad's doing pretty well...

While iPad sales are nowhere near the stellar levels they were a few years ago, Apple seems to have levelled off the decline for now.

"iPad unit sales grew for the fifth consecutive quarter and we gained significant share of the global tablet market based on the latest estimates from IDC. We recorded double-digit iPad unit growth in both our Greater China and rest of Asia Pacific segments with a new June quarter record for iPad sales in Mainland China. Almost half of iPad purchases in the quarter were by customers new to iPad and our active installed base of iPads reached a new all-time high." - Luca Maestri

#4: "... but, yeah, we're overdue for an iPad Pro refresh"

But Maestri also hints that the lack of an iPad Pro refresh didn't help.

"Our overall performance compared to last year was impacted by the introduction of new iPad Pro models in June of last year which resulted in both a different mix with higher ASPs and channel sale a year ago." - Luca Maestri

#5: Tim Cook talks tariffs

Apple is being blunt about the overall effects of tariffs - increased prices for buyers.

"And our view on tariffs is that they show up as a tax on the consumer and wind up resulting in lower economic growth and sometimes can bring about significant risk of unintended consequences." - Tim Cook

#6: An appeal to "calm heads" on tariffs

Did Cook just take a jab at Trump?

"I can't predict the future, but I am optimistic that the countries will get through this and we are hoping that calm heads prevail." - Tim Cook

#7: The smartphone is where the smart money is at, but there's a hint that the market might shrink

Cook remains bullish about smartphones, even if growth is in the single digits. Or even if it shrinks.

"I think the smartphone market is very healthy. I think it's actually the best market in the world to be in for someone that is in the business that we're in. It's an enormous sized market and whether it grows, from our point of view, whether it grows 1 percent or 2 percent or 5 percent or 6 percent or 10 percent or shrinks 1 percent or 2 percent, it's a great market because it's just huge. And so that's kind of the way that I view that."

All earning call quotes provided by Seeking Alpha.

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