First things first, props to Jason Snell for pulling together the call transcript and the charts collection (which I’ll post next). Thanks, Jason.
As to the transcript, lots to read, too much to highlight, but I will post one quote, this from Apple CFO Luca Maestri, when asked about the impact of the pandemic on Apple’s results:
Well of course, we don’t have the crystal ball that tells us exactly what these different variables, how they impacted our business. We do know that on the positive side of the ledger, obviously, especially during the periods of extreme lockdowns, digital services did very well because entertainment options were limited. And so obviously our digital services did really, really well.
Obviously with more people working from home, more people studying from home, we know that iPad and Mac demand was very, very strong. On the other side, we had certain services like advertising, because of the reduced economic activity, AppleCare, because our stores were closed, they were affected negatively. And certain products like the iPhone or the Watch that are maybe more complex types of sales because of the complexity of the transaction.
They were also affected because so many points of sale were closed all around the world, not only our stores, but also our partner stores, right? So we had that dynamic throughout COVID. And now some of these businesses are rebounding.
I mentioned advertising and AppleCare. IPad and Mac, it’s difficult for us to gauge because we’ve been constrained for quite a long period of time, and the reality is that maybe the new normal after we exit COVID may be different from the past. For example, maybe there’s going to be hybrid models around work, for example.
And so it’s difficult to tell you on a net basis what that is. And this is very fluid, because it tends to change over time. I can certainly tell you that we’re all looking forward to a COVID-free world. I think that that would be very good for us and for our customers as well.
I broke Luca’s answer into paragraphs, just to make it easier to read. I find it interesting to be able to separate Apple’s long term trending/direction as a business from the shorter term (I hope) effects brought about by the pandemic.