According to Apple’s FY23 earnings call, sales of Apple’s desktop and laptop computers were down 34% year-over-year in Q4 FY2023. Q4 of FY2022 was the most successful quarter for Macs ever, but this represents the fourth consecutive quarter of YoY declines for Macs. Apple remains optimistic about the future of its PCs as its M3-based lineup looks more competitive (and generally more expensive) than the previous-generation M2-powered family.
Sales of Macs and iPhones Disappoint
Sales of Macs totaled $7.614 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 and $29.357 billion for the whole, year, down nearly 34% and 27% year-over-year, respectively. While the declines look dramatic, fiscal 2022 was a record year for Macs in general as the company sold huge amounts of its high-performance M1 Pro and M1 Max-based MacBook Pro notebooks and Mac Studio desktops. Meanwhile, the company faced major shipments constraints in Q3 FY2022, which is why Q4 FY2022 was the record quarter for Macs ever.
“In Mac, revenue came in at $7.6 billion, down 34% year-over-year from the prior year’s record quarter,” said Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, at the earnings call with financial analysts and investors (via SeekingAlpha). “This was due to challenging market conditions, as well as difficult compares against the supply disruptions and subsequent demand recapture we experienced a year ago.”
While comparison with Q4 FY2022 may be a bit off, there is another reason why sales of Macs decline: owners of Apple’s PCs who wanted to get an Apple Silicon-based machine have already got one. Given that their M1-based desktops and notebooks are three years old at most, Q3 of calendar 2023 was not their time for an upgrade given mediocre performance difference between M1 and M2-series processors. Apple admits that only half of the Macs last quarter were bought by Mac owners, the rest of sales came from people who were new Apple customers.
“We have great confidence in our Mac line-up and are excited about the recently announced iMac and MacBook Pro powered by our M3 chips,” said Cook. “Our installed base is at an all-time high and half of Mac buyers during the quarter were new to the product, driven by MacBook Air.”
Apple’s iPad brought in $6.4 billion in revenue in Q4 FY2023, marking a 10% decrease compared to the same period last year. This downturn mirrors the situation seen with Mac sales in Q4 FY2022. Just like Macs, iPads were significantly impacted by supply chain disruptions in the June quarter, which led to an unusual spike in demand in the following September quarter as the pent-up demand was met.
But iPhones and Services Prosper
Apple’s iPhone revenue saw an increase in Q4 FY2023, reaching $43.8 billion, a rise from the previous year’s $42.6 billion. However, looking at the annual figures, iPhone revenue experienced a decline, falling to $200.6 billion from $205.5 billion the year before.
While Apple’s hardware business was a mixed bag both for Q4 FY2023 and for the whole year, the company’s Services business thrived as the company’s install base increased to two billion active devices. Revenue from services hit an record high, reaching $22.3 billion in Q4 FY2023 (up a 16% from Q2 FY2022) and 85.2 billion in FY2023 (up 9% from FY2022).
As Apple Increases R&D Spending to $30 Billion
Being the world’s largest supplier of consumer electronics by revenue and the world’s most valuable public company is a hard job. You not only need to meet customer’s expectations, but also exceed those of investors. While Apple generally produces competitive and user-friendly products, it cannot force its customers to upgrade if subsequent models are moderately better than those on the market, especially amid economic downturn. Which is why some may consider Apple’s results disappointing.
But Apple still makes tons of money. The company earned $89.5 billion in Q4 FY2023 and $383.285 billion for the whole year. Despite lower sales, the company upped its research and development spending form $26.251 billion in FY2022 to $29.915 billion in FY2023, which makes the company one of the largest R&D spenders in the world.
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