We should have no doubt that Apple’s decision to withhold iPhone sales means that they know that the numbers won’t impress going forward. However, we should also have no doubt that the decision to disclose the costs associated with providing services will be hugely impressive in the quarters to come.
While I’m never here to defend any company, industry, market, etc. — my job is to see things as they are, not how I might like them to be — my best guess at this point is that Wall Street’s myopia is fully on display with regard to Apple’s latest.
Apple decided to make a couple of big changes to the information it discloses every quarter. And one made investors even more unhappy.
First, it will start revealing the cost of providing all those services (like app sales, cloud storage, and mobile payments). Analysts will be able to compare the cost to the revenue brought in (which Apple already discloses) and calculate a gross profit margin. Second, and more controversial, it will stop disclosing how many iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers it sells every quarter. Thus, analysts will no longer be able to see trends in iPhone unit sales, calculate average selling prices, or discern other key trends. Apple shares gapped down to a 7.4% loss, briefly sending the company’s stock market value below $1 trillion, before slightly recovering. (As I write this, Apple shares are off 5% on Friday morning, putting it just over the $1 trillion mark.)
Fortune Data Sheet