Tech

Apple reports flat revenue and does not offer guidance because of coronavirus uncertainty

Key Points
  • Apple revenue growth slowed down as it saw supply and demand impact from coronavirus.
  • Apple did not issue guidance for the quarter ending in June, as it usually does.
  • Cook struck an optimistic note about worldwide recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in an interview with CNBC. 
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Apple shares were down more than 2% during extended trading on Thursday after the company reported a slight increase in second-quarter revenue to $58.3 billion, during a period in which supply and demand for Apple's products was negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here's how Apple did:

  • EPS: $2.55 per share, adjusted
  • Revenue: $58.3 billion
  • iPhone revenue: $28.96 billion
  • Services revenue: $13.34 billion
  • Mac revenue: $5.35 billion
  • iPad revenue: $4.36 billion
  • Wearables, Home, and Accessories revenue: $10.01 billion
  • Gross margin: 38.4%

"Amid the most challenging global environment in which we've ever operated our business we're proud to say that Apple grew during the quarter," Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a call with analysts. 

Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had expected $2.26 in adjusted earnings per share on $54.54 billion in revenue for the fiscal second quarter, with a 38.4% gross margin. With respect to fiscal third-quarter guidance, analysts polled by Refinitiv were looking for $51.54 billion in revenue and a gross margin of 38.5%. However, the impact of Covid-19 on economic activity has made it more difficult for analysts to accurately predict companies' results.

Apple will also continue to buy back its stock amid the pandemic, the company said. It has authorized an increase of $50 billion in the company's share repurchase program, in addition to a dividend of $0.82 per share. In Apple's fiscal 2019, it spent $67.1 billion repurchasing shares and $14.1 billion on dividends.

However, Apple did not issue guidance for the quarter ending in June, as it usually does. The company withdrew guidance for its second-quarter in February as the Covid-19 coronavirus spread in China.

"There was a significant, very steep fall-off in February. That began to recover some in March, and we've seen further recovery in April. So, it leaves us room for optimism," Cook said in an interview with CNBC's Josh Lipton. 

"We have great confidence in the long-term of our business. In the short-term, it's hard to see out the windshield to know what the next 60 days look like, and so we're not giving guidance because of that lack of visibility and uncertainty," Cook said in the interview. "It was a very unique quarter. I've never had anything quite like this. I hope to never have it again, but I'm incredibly proud of the company and what was achieved during that period of time."

iPhone revenue was down to $28.96 billion, a 7% year-over-year decrease. The shortfall was partially made up by a 16% rise in services revenue, which include iCloud, Apple Music, and other subscriptions, to $13.34 billion. Total revenue growth for the quarter decreased to 0.5% from 9% a quarter ago.

CFO Luca Maestri said that iPhone performance will be worse, on a year-to-year basis, in the June quarter than it was in the March quarter. 

"On iPhone and Wearables, we expect a year-over-year revenue performance to worsen in the June quarter, relative to the March quarter. On iPad and Mac, we expect the year-over-year revenue performance to improve in the June quarter," Maestri said. 

Cook said that the company's TV subscription service, Apple TV+, was doing well as more people watched content while under lockdown, and that people were turning to iPad and Mac, the company's larger computers, in increasing numbers. 

"It's clearly helping the iPad and the Mac and, for that reason … we envision both of those to have improving year-over-year performances in this current quarter," Cook told CNBC. "If you look at TV+ as an example, we've seen a significant uptick in the number of people that are viewing content as well as the engagement with content."

Apple's cash hoard now stands at $192.8 billion, down from $207.1 billion at the end of the previous quarter.

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Apple's stores around the world, except in China and one location in Korea, are shuttered until further notice. But the company said that sales in its online store combined with its retail stores reached a record in March, and Tim Cook told CNBC "the growth was off the charts" online. Cook also said that the company plans to reopen its retail stores with a "much reduced number of people in the store."

Cook also noted that Apple was able to launch new products, including new iPad Pro and MacBook Air models, during a quarter in which many of Apple's employees at its California headquarters started to work from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

This story is developing. Refresh for the latest updates. CNBC's Josh Lipton contributed to this story.