Five questions answered on Apple’s profit surge

It made $6.9bn.

iPhone maker Apple has reported higher profits in the third-quarter than was expected. We answer five questions on Apple’s latest sales surge.

 How much profit did Apple make in the last quarter?

It made $6.9bn (£4.5bn) in the three months to June. This pushed its shares up by 5 per cent in after-hours trading yesterday.

What’s responsible for this better-than-expected profit rise?

It’s iPhone smartphone. Apple sold 31.2m of the mobile device, a record for the June quarter, compared to 26m last year.

How do these latest figures compare to last year overall?

Compared to the same period last year, profit is actually down by 22 per cent. Its profit margins actually shrank to 36.98 per cent from 42.8 per cent.

However, this quarter its sales prices were actually lower at $581, compared with $608 a year ago.

The company’s revenue, which was also better than expected, rose only slightly above the same quarter last year to $35.3bn compared to $35bn a year ago.

What have the analysts said about Apple’s latest figures?

Shannon Cross of Cross Research, speaking to the BBC said:

"The iPhone number should provide some comfort to investors who were worried about smartphone demand.

"That's one of the reasons the stock is up. Expectations were not strong for this quarter."

While Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital, told the BBC:

"This was a 'blah' quarter and the story hasn't changed.

"Until it delivers a new, innovative product that really adds to both top and bottom-line, I would expect the stock to continue treading water."

So, what is next for Apple?

It’s hard to say, except Apple's boss, Tim Cook, did tell the BBC the company – who’s last innovation was the iPad in 2010 – is planning on introducing some new products soon.

"We are later-focused and working hard on some amazing new products that we will introduce in the fall [autumn] and across 2014," he said.

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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David Blunkett compares Labour membership to failed revolution “from Ukraine to Egypt”

The Labour peer and former home secretary says new members need a “meaningful political education”, and accuses unions of neglecting their “historic balance”.

There are three sorts of opposition. There’s the civil society opposition, with people campaigning in their own specific areas, people who’ve got an interest group or are delivering social enterprise or a charity. I don’t think we should underestimate that because we're going to have to hang on to it as part of the renewal of civil society.

The second is the opposition formally, within the House of Commons: those who have agreed to serve as the formal shadow ministerial teams. Because of what I’d describe as the turmoil over the last two years, they’ve either not been able to be impressive – ie. they’re trying very hard but they don't have the coherent leadership or backing to do it – or they’ve got completely different interests to what it is they’re supposed to be doing, and therefore they’re not engaged with the main task.

Then there’s the third, which is the informal opposition – Labour linked sometimes to the Lib Dems and the SNP in Parliament on the opposition benches as a whole. They’re not doing a bad job with the informal opposition. People getting on with their work on select committees, the departmental committees beginning to shape policy that they can hopefully feed to the National Executive Committee, depending on the make-up of the National Executive Committee following this year’s conference. That embryo development of coherent policy thinking will be the seed-bed for the future.

I lived through, worked through, and was integrally involved with, what happened in the early Eighties, so I know it well. And people were in despair after the ‘83 election. Although it took us a long time to pull round, we did. It’s one reason why so many people, quite rightly in my view, don't want to repeat the split of 1931 or the split of 1981.

So they are endeavouring to stay in to argue to have some vision of a better tomorrow, and to persuade those of goodwill who have joined the party – who genuinely believe in a social movement and in extra-parliamentary non-violent activity, which I respect entirely – to persuade them that they’ll only be effective if they can link up with a functioning political process at national level, and at townhall and county level as well.

In other words, to learn the lessons of what’s happened across the world recently as well as in the past, from the Ukraine to Egypt, that if the groundswell doesn’t connect to a functioning party leadership, then, with the best will in the world, it’s not going to achieve its overall goals.

How do we engage with meaningful political education within the broader Labour party and trade union movement, with the substantially increased rank-and-file membership, without being patronising – and without setting up an alternative to Momentum, which would allow Momentum to justify its existence as a party within a party?

That's the challenge of the next two years. It's not just about someone with a vision, who’s charismatic, has leadership qualities, coming forward, that in itself won’t resolve the challenge because this isn't primarily, exclusively about Jeremy Corbyn. This is about the project being entirely on the wrong trajectory.

A lot depends on what the trade unions do. They command effectively the majority on the National Executive Committee. They command the key votes at party conference. And they command the message and resources that go out on the policy or programmes. It’s not just down to personality and who wins the General Secretary of Unite; it’s what the other unions are doing to actually provide their historic balance, because they always have – until now – provided a ballast, foundation, for the Labour party, through thick and thin. And over the last two years, that historic role has diminished considerably, and they seem to just be drifting.

I don’t think anybody should expect there to be a party leadership challenge any time soon. It may be that Jeremy Corbyn might be persuaded at some point to stand down. I was against the challenge against him last year anyway, purely because there wasn't a prepared candidate, there wasn't a policy platform, and there hadn’t been a recruitment drive to back it up.

People shouldn’t expect there to be some sort of white charger out there who will bring an immediate and quick end to the pain we’re going through. I think it’s going to be a readjustment, with people coming to conclusions in the next two years that might lead the party to be in a position to fight a credible general election in 2020. I’ve every intention of laying down some good red wine and still being alive to drink it when the Labour party is elected back to power.

David Blunkett is a Labour peer and former home secretary and education secretary.

As told to Anoosh Chakelian.

This article first appeared in the 30 March 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Wanted: an opposition