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Apple crushes earnings expectations but warns chip shortages could hurt revenue

·Technology Editor
·3-min read
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Apple (AAPL) reported its Q2 2021 earnings after the closing bell on Wednesday, blowing away analysts' expectations on the top and bottom line. Revenue was up a whopping 54% year-over-year on strong hardware sales in the quarter.

Still, executives on Apple's conference call warned of the impact of the ongoing global chip shortage on Apple's hardware business. Supply constraints could have a revenue impact of $3 billion to $4 billion in the June quarter, Apple's CFO Luca Maestri said on the earnings call.

Those shortages will mainly affect the iPad and the Mac, CEO Tim Cook said. "And so, we'll have some challenges in there, and challenges in meeting the demand that we've got. The demand feels very strong right now," Cook said.

Here are the most important numbers from the report compared to what Wall Street was expecting.

  • Revenue: $89.58 billion versus $77.3 billion expected

  • Earnings per share: $1.40 versus $0.99 expected

  • iPhone revenue: $47.9 billion versus $41.5 billion expected

  • iPad revenue: $7.8 billion versus $5.6 billion expected

  • Mac revenue: $9.1 billion versus $6.8 billion expected

The stock was up 4% following the report.

“This quarter reflects both the enduring ways our products have helped our users meet this moment in their own lives, as well as the optimism consumers seem to feel about better days ahead for all of us,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a release.

Apple is still riding high on the sales of its iPhone 12, which it launched in September 2020. The first iPhone to offer 5G cellular connectivity, the iPhone 12 has been a massive success for the company so far. It's not just the iPhone that has boosted Apple, though. The pandemic-fueled work-from-home and remote learning environments have also sent Mac and iPad sales soaring.

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But with vaccines rolling out to all Americans over 16, and states easing pandemic restrictions, the robust sales from Apple’s Mac and iPad segments could slow down, Goldman Sachs’ Rod Hall wrote in a research note prior to the earnings release.

“In our opinion, current high levels of both iPad and Mac demand are unlikely to be sustainable as the world re-opens,” Hall said.

Apple is also continuing to move forward with its plan to ditch Intel (INTC) as its primary chip provider in favor of its own Arm-based M1 chips. The company released its first MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini powered by M1 processors in November 2020, spurring growth in the segment, and earlier this month, Apple debuted its new M1-powered iMac and iPad Pros.

The biggest dark cloud hanging over Apple and other consumer tech companies is the ongoing global chip shortage, which could last into 2022.

The fear for Apple is that a lack of available semiconductors could slow the company’s ability to get products built and into consumers’ hands. So far, Apple has fared well, but a long-term slowdown in chip availability could ding its revenue going forward.

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