Get a good look at this iPhone sales chart, because it’s the last one you’ll ever see.
Apple decided it would stop providing unit sales for the iPhone, Mac and iPad. Sales of Apple products have flatlined – iPhone sales barely grew at all last quarter.
In the near term, that’s not such a big deal. IPhone revenue is still soaring. Apple made $8 billion more dollars selling iPhones than it did a year earlier.
Apple (AAPL) also figured out its medium-term growth problem, convincing customers to buy subscription services: Apple made $1 billion more on Apple Music and Apple Care. Services revenue is soaring – it grew 17% in the past quarter.
But at some point Apple’s going to have to figure out what will replace the iPhone, or it won’t be able to squeeze any more juice out of the orange. Apple can’t hike prices forever: Will people pay $2,000 for an iPhone? Eventually it won’t be able to add subscription services either – if it can’t sell more iPhones, eventually it will run out of customers to sell content to.
Apple has an iPhone problem. It has tried to disguise it. Now it wants to hide it away. But Apple can’t avoid the problem forever.