Tim Cook to Apple employees: iPhone activations in US, Canada set new record

Apple CEO Tim Cook sends employees a memo highlighting the bright spots in an otherwise gloomy quarter.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

After Apple cut its Q1 revenue forecast by $9bn, CEO Tim Cook reminded employees in a memo obtained by Bloomberg that there are still some bright points, including a record number of new iPhone activations in the US and Canada on Christmas day. 

The note about record activations comes as Apple for the first time did not report quarterly unit sales of the iPhone, which it's done since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. However, Cook admitted to staff that Apple didn't set a new record for iPhone sales in Q1. 

The memo, aimed at pepping up staff after cutting its revenue outlook for the first time since 2002, reiterated Cook's note to investors that it missed its target due to lower than expected iPhone sales in China. 

Cook told investors Apple didn't see the size of the slowdown in China coming, which Apple believes was made worse "by rising trade tensions with the United States", referring to the US-China trade war. It also saw lower than expected upgrades in some developed markets. 

But Cook told employees that Apple expects to "set all-time revenue records in key markets including the US, Canada and Mexico, Western European countries including Germany and Italy, and countries across the Asia-Pacific region like Korea and Vietnam."

SEE: Apple iOS 12: An insider's guide (free PDF)

Also, Apple's installed base of active devices is now higher than it's ever been. Asymco analyst Horace Dediu estimates Apple has just over 1.4 billion active devices, about a 100 million more than the 1.3 billion that Apple reported last February.   

Cook said Apple would not use negative external forces as an excuse for its performance, nor wait for conditions to get better. 

"This moment gives us an opportunity to learn and to take action, to focus on our strengths and on Apple's mission -- delivering the best products on Earth for our customers and providing them with an unmatched level of service. We manage Apple for the long term, and in challenging times we have always come out stronger."

Apple today also announced that the App Store saw record levels of spending over the holidays totaling $1.22bn between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. The $322m spent on New Year's Day 2019 was also a single-day record for the App Store. 


Tim Cook: "This moment gives us an opportunity to learn and to take action."

Image: CNET

Previous and related coverage

iPhone deals ahead? Bad news for Apple is good news for Apple buyers

Apple has issued its first profit warning since 2002, and the first since the company entered into the smartphone era. But a situation that might be gloomy for investors will be good news for those who want to buy Apple products.

Apple: Beginning of the end, or a new beginning?

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

After iPhone: How long can Apple wait for the next big thing?

Apple has always been about more than the iPhone, but stepping beyond it is a massive challenge.

Apple's Q1 revenue miss: Here are the 5 takeaways you need to know

Apple doesn't do small. A lengthy first quarter preannouncement gave Apple fans and critics a lot of fodder to consider.

Slow iPhone sales? iPhone XR is our best-selling model, says Apple

Maybe $1,000 is too much? Apple says its cheaper iPhone XR has been the best-selling iPhone since its launch.

Apple to iPhone owners: Up to $100 more for your old phone if you buy XS, XR

No discounts on the iPhone XS, but Apple will give you more for an old iPhone.

Apple restarting iPhone X production, cutting XS price over slow sales?

Apple is said to be ready to offer subsidies to operators to discount the iPhone XR in Japan.

Trump: iPhone buyers could 'very easily' stand paying 10% more with China tariff

Ahead of this week's G20 meeting, Trump talks up tariffs on Chinese-made iPhones and MacBooks.

Demand for new iPhones weaker than Apple expected, claims report TechRepublic

It seems that Apple is having a hard time forecasting what the demand for new iPhones will be, and is being forced to slash production orders as a result.

Apple's rare sales warning sparks iPhone fatigue fears CNET

The company blames a deceleration in demand in China, but investors imagine the worst.

Editorial standards