This was right in line with analyst expectations for the period. The unsurprising result was reflected in Apple’s stock price, which barely budged on the news. It fell 0.48%.
Yet, the same analysts who said this was within the range they expected also sent out signals that it was a disappointing result.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicted Apple would sell 3 million iPhones to China Mobile users this quarter, so the 1 million in February is about in line with his estimate. On CNBC though, he said the result was “disappointing.”
Cowen & Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri said the 1 million was right in line with his expectations, but was “likely below” what everyone else was thinking. He says the consensus was for 5 million this quarter, which seems out of reach.
Kulbinder Garcha at UBS wrote, “These initial sales are in-line with our view and point to limited adoption at China Mobile, which we believe is primarily due to the high cost of the device and quality issues with its LTE network.”
China Mobile is the world’s biggest carrier, so a lot of people assumed that once Apple would blow the doors off once it was officially working with the carrier. The problem is that the iPhone is still expensive, and China Mobile’s high-end subscriber base is just a fraction of the overall subscribers. Plus, China Mobile is still expanding its 4G network around China.
While these in-line results are quietly below expectations, many analysts are thinking that China Mobile will have a bigger impact in the fourth quarter when its 4G network is more robust, and when Apple starts selling a larger screened iPhone.
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