After reporting a year-over-year decline in second-quarter revenue, and guiding for more of the same in Q3, investors are concerned Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) revenue has peaked. But could this negative revenue trend only be temporary? Here are three areas management mentioned in its most recent earnings call that could help the company return to growth in the future.
On March 31, Apple began shipping its iPhone SE. Priced about $200 below the flagship version of the phone, the new device represented Apple's lowest costing new iPhone ever. The iPhone SE, therefore, embodied somewhat of a price elasticity test for Apple-branded smartphones.
As it turns out, the price point was a success, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook (via a Seeking Alpha transcript of the Q2 call):
The next thing is with the iPhone SE, we have seen our ability to attract even more customers into the platform with an incredible product that is at a new price point for us with the latest technology, and so we're optimistic about attracting even more customers with that.
Given that the iPhone SE was not only a much smaller device than its flagship iPhones devices, but also an older form factor (the iPhone SE adopted the iPhone 5s case design), the success of the iPhone SE is notable. Imagine if Apple were to put more focus on this price point, and launch a redesigned lower-cost iPhone aimed specifically at maximizing this market opportunity.
Of course, lower-priced iPhones would mean a lower average selling price for the segment. But if a more affordable iPhone increases total unit sales enough, and is accretive to EPS, a hit to average selling price may be worth it.
Given Apple's excellent track record of new product launches, combined with the company's boatload of cash and marketable securities it can use to invest in new products and make strategic acquisitions, investors shouldn't underestimate the potential for Apple to successfully take its brand to new categories with new products.
The Apple Watch, while not a huge contributor to the company's business, is notably off to a solid start already. The company sold more Apple Watch units in its first year of availability than it sold iPhone devices during its first year.
Then there are rumors of Apple designing its own electric car. Whether that is true or not, the fact that it's even believable highlights the power of the company's cash hoard and its brand.
"[W]e're very excited about what's in our pipeline," Cook said during the Q2 call.
Another area to watch as a potential growth catalyst for Apple is its services segment. It's now Apple's second largest segment, representing about 12% of revenue. And total sales in the segment were up 20% in Q2 compared to the year-ago quarter.
Recently, Apple management has been attempting to convey this segment's growth potential to investors. Earlier this year Apple introduced a new metric to show the growth in the purchase value of services tied to Apple's installed base of active devices. The key metric shows year-over-year growth in purchase value of services is accelerating; growth in the metric in Q2 was 27% -- up from 24% growth in Q1.
Combining these three potential areas for growth with Apple's powerful brand and its loyal customer base, I'm betting this lull in growth is only temporary.