Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Communication Failure With Grammar Police and Analysts

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apps

Apple Inc. has seen better days. Not only is CEO Tm Cook having to defend dismal numbers and a dropping stock price, but now analysts are starting to question how Apple Inc. guides them through sales data, says a report from Business Insider. All of this on the heels of a challenging and very pubic wrestling match with the FBI over data privacy. The price of Apple stock had been recovering from a significant drop which began in the last quarter of 2015 but over the last two weeks, the stock price has returned to a steep downward drop.

Apple Inc. Tim Cook

Apple sales data confusing?

After Apple’s earnings call, Ben Thompson – who writes the Stratechery email newsletter – notes that CEO Tim Cook’s comments related to the segment of users who upgraded to the newer models was a bit confusing.  Last week, Cook said the upgrade rate “is lower than the accelerated upgrade rate that we saw with iPhone 6.”  Cook meant that the new rate was slowing, or fewer users are buying the new iPhones.

But, Thompson says, “Actually, no, we didn’t know that, because Cook insistently claimed the exact opposite last year on every single earnings call. … I find any possible explanation for this inconsistency very troubling: either Cook was purposely overselling the upgrade narrative last year, which would not only be duplicitous but also dumb, given that he would only be setting up Apple for a fall this cycle; or even as late as last year Cook was out of touch with how the iPhone upgrade cycle actually works, or how it may have changed over time. I strongly suspect it is the latter explanation.”

Analysts bashing a tech firm that has posted 13 straight years of quarterly revenue increases is a rare occurrence. But Thompson is not the only one to do so. Earlier this year, Pacific Crest analysts – Andy Hargreaves and Evan Wingren – noted that they are now not so confident on characterisations of Apple’s sales data.

For Apple Inc. , it can be said that such criticisms are minor. The data that analysts are referring to are not stats that the firm reports its SEC filing, rather it is executives commentary, whose main purpose is to help analysts interpret the data better. It can be said Cook’s comment in question are vague and open to interpretation, and probably analysts misunderstood the intent.

Though the stock depends much more on EPS and revenues than on characterizations in Cook’s conference calls, there has been a definite change in the way analysts look Apple now.

Giving a grammar lesson

Apple Inc. is very specific when it comes to design, specs and quality of the devices, but there is one more front that the iPhone maker is so much peculiar about – your grammar usage, especially when you talk of Apple devices.

Apple does not like, when someone pluralize its products. So, if you have a habit of saying two iPhones, or two iPads, the firm says the right way is ‘two iPhone devices, or two iPad devices.’

Apple’s head of marketing – Phil Schiller – recently took to Twitter to teach everyone a Golden rule when talking of Apple devices. As per Schiller, when someone says “Apple launches new iPhones, iPads” or “Apple’s latest Macs come with updated processors,” it is wrong.

All this debate started, when Benedict Evans shared a podcast link, with “iPads Pro,” in the caption. This provoked Schiller to jump in the chat thread and correct everyone.

“One need never pluralize Apple product names. Ex: Mr. Evans used two iPad Pro devices,” Schiller tweeted.

In response, a user tweeted “Really? So I have two iPhone phones, not two iPhones? Ridiculous.”

To this, Schiller responded, “Really! Words can be both singular and plural, such as deer and clothes.” And, “it would be proper to say “I have 3 Macintosh” or “I have 3 Macintosh computers.”

Though Schiller insists that we should not be pluralizing Apple Inc. products, someone on Twitter pointed that Apple’s own press release have often been referring to iPhones, iPads and Macs.

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Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both marketing and Finance side. He has work as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, playing PC games and cricket.

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