Apple's growth scorecard for the third fiscal quarter 2012

As the following revenue growth table shows, the second calendar quarter of 2012 was not like the recent past.

The bottom line growth (earnings) is the slowest since Q309 which had a difficult comparison with Q308 when the iPhone 3G launched and saw 800% iPhone growth. This past quarter also had a difficult comparison with 150% iPhone growth a year earlier and 122% earnings growth.

This is shown in a different way in the following graph:

Growth is sometimes victim to difficult comparisons and sometimes the launch of products comes late or early in a particular cycle. This quarter was a mix of multiple factors that went the wrong way:

  1. iPhone did not get expanded distribution and was stale late in its cycle. Emerging market traction outside of China still elusive.
  2. iPad is not getting volume purchasing from institutions and spring is not an ideal launch quarter for consumers
  3. Mac portables missed a few weeks of sales due to lack of Intel components
  4. Some signs of macroeconomic slowing especially in Europe and countries dependent on commodities exports.

The silver lining is the return of higher growth to iTunes store and peripherals. These are “hobbies” for Apple but they might form a foundation for significant new opportunities in the years to come.