Notes from Apple’s Q2 2015 earnings call

Kicking off Apple’s conference call announcing its record-breaking numbers for Q2 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook reported that the company had its strongest March quarter ever, with 27 percent revenue growth overall, and 55 percent year-over-year growth in iPhone revenue. Cook also noted that Apple has seen a higher rate of user switching to the iPhone than in previous iPhone cycles. He cited strong success of the iPhone in emerging markets with 63 percent year-over-year growth, and noted that the App Store had its best quarter ever with a record number of customers making purchases, driving a new record for App Store revenue.

Cook also touched on Apple’s successes in other areas, noting that Apple Pay has had great momentum, with the number of merchants accepting Apple Pay having tripled. More than 60,000 iPhone users enrolled in ResearchKit in only the first few weeks of its availability, and thousands of researchers have contacted Apple expressing interest in the technology for their own studies. Naturally, Cook also spoke on the Apple Watch debut, noting that the response to the Apple Watch has been positive and that more than 3,500 apps that are already available have added to “the surprise and delight” of Apple Watch. Cook expressed his thanks to third-party developers, customers, and Apple employees in making the Apple Watch launch a success.
During the Q&A portion of the call, Cook noted that Apple is hoping to expand Apple Watch sales into more countries in late June, although he noted that it’s been hard for Apple to gauge demand with products not yet being available in stores for traditional sales. He also mentioned that Apple has been adjusting to differing customer preferences due to the wide breadth of options available with the Apple Watch, and in some cases Apple anticipated where the demand would be, but in other areas the company has been “making adjustments.” Cook also noted that differences in app availability at launch, stating that Apple was pleasantly surprised at how many Apple Watch apps were available right out of the gate, with over 3,500 on the App Store, as compared to the 500 that were available when the iPhone first launched and 1,000 apps that were available when the iPad debuted. When asked about iPhone upgrade ratios, Cook noted that Apple’s current estimate is that about 20 percent of the active installed base of iPhone users have upgraded to an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, suggesting that there’s “plenty of upgrade headroom” in addition to Apple “inviting over as many switchers” as it can.

Asked about declining iPad sales, Cook acknowledged that Apple is in fact seeing cannibalization of iPad sales from the larger-screened iPhones and also from the Mac on the other side. Apple has “never worried about that” and that it “is what it is and will play out.” Cook noted that the IBM partnership is in its early stages “in terms of bearing fruit” but that he believes the iPad can “play in a major way in enterprise.”  He also noted that the numbers that Apple is seeing would not indicate that the market is saturated, and usage numbers that are “off the charts” compared to the competition and customer satisfaction “at or near 100 percent” suggested that the iPad still has a role and he is confident that the numbers will make a comeback.

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