During its fourth-quarter earnings call, Apple management announced, going forward, the company would not share unit sales data for any of its products. Analysts, investors and enthusiasts have traditionally followed iPhone unit sales as an indicator of Apple’s health, and management sent a signal this was no longer wanted.
“Our product ranges for all the major product categories have become wider over time and therefore a unit of sale is less relevant for us at this point compared to the past because we’ve got these much wider sales prices dispersion,” said the company’s CFO Luca Maestri.
As this chart from Statista shows, iPhone unit sales and revenue growth were well-aligned over the years. Felix Richter writes: “When smartphone sales (naturally) started to slow down due to market saturation and slower technological progress, Apple decided to delve even further into the premium segment, bringing its average iPhone selling price to unprecedented heights and reaccelerating growth in its iPhone business. There is a disconnect though: while revenue growth has sped up with the release of the iPhone X, unit sales growth has remained flat.”
This disconnect is, in part, because a larger portion of Apple’s revenue is in services.