Apple released its fourth quarter results recently, and while it makes for interesting reading the more pertinent news is that the Cupertino-based company is changing its protocols when it comes to disclosing how many devices it sells.

More specifically it will no longer be given precise sales number for main hardware lineups – iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and iMacs. All of these devices will no be grouped into one single category.

It’s not as dramatic a move as some may think, with Apple already grouping together some of its other devices when detailing quarterly results. This namely involves their wearables such as the Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod speaker.

According to Apple CFO, Luca Maestri, the move is motivated by the fact that individual unit sales is no longer a worthwhile metric in the view of the company.

“It’s not representative of [the] underlying strength of our business,” Maestri said in an earnings call. “A unit of sale is less relevant today than it was in our past,” he added.

While we’ll have to take Maestri’s word for it, the fact that the company decided to make such a decision after there was no change in iPhone percentage sales year-on-year for Q4 2018 is a tad odd.

We have to concede that unit sales are not always a proper reflection of how a company is performing, but it does serve as a indicator for how a particular product is being received by the market.

Added to this is the role that unit sales plays to investor, media and consumer confidence. Furthermore research firms such as Gartner and IDC rely on unit sales in order their own reports. Whether those organisations will now be able to collate their reports as effectively without specific numbers from Apple remains to be seen.

As such it should be interesting to see how next year plays out, especially when it comes to how Apple is compared to the likes of Samsung, Huawei and other competitors.


[Image – Apple]