What we discovered from Apple’s earnings call

Yesterday Apple released their results for the last quarter leading to headlines of Apple’s fall from its peak due to a 18% drop in profits compared with the same quarter a year ago. Behind the headline drop though we got some tidbits of what will be coming when Apple launch their next iPhone, and some hints at revolutionary new devices.

While there was no announcements of new products, none were expected, questions asked by stockholders in the Q&A session did give us some useful info for predicting what the iPhone 5S will look like.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, was asked directly about the phablet phenomenon and if Apple would join the growing trend towards larger screens on smartphones. His response was slightly cryptic indicating that Apple wouldn’t rule it out, but would only do so if they felt the quality of the screen was there. Larger screens can lead to trade offs in battery life, colour and resolution, Cook said ”We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist”.

The iPhone 5 has a 4″ display and we’d expect the new iPhone 5S to keep the same form factor as the iPhone 5, so Cook’s comments could indicate the iPhone 6 may have a larger screen if the challenges to making one fit with Apple’s specifications are met by its release date.

Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S IV have gone for even bigger displays but have cut down the size of their phones by having small bezels and small home buttons, and iPhone in its current design at that screen size would be significantly bigger – something Apple will need to adjust, perhaps by going for a on-screen home button, before launching a phablet device.

We also heard that some ‘surprises’ will be coming in the Autumn and in 2014. What these will be isn’t clear, and it’s not even certain if changes to the iPhone and iPad lineup could be ‘surprises’ by Apple’s definition. We’re hoping not and that we’ll see new products from the San Francisco based computing giant. Among the rumoured products from Apple are an iWatch smartwatch and iTV digital television possibly powered by a Siri voice feature.

Despite the fall in profits we also learnt that Apple has sold more iPhones and iPads than ever before. They sold 37.4 million iPhones, up 6.5% on a year ago, and 19.5 million iPads, up 65% on a year ago. Impressive numbers but some analysts are worried iPhone’s growth has slowed significantly  hence their stock price has falled today despite Apple promising to buy back stocks in record numbers.

We’ve also heard that WWDC, Apple’s developer conference, is taking place on June 10th. We’re not certain if this is when Apple will announce a new iPhone. In the now somewhat distant past these events were used for product announcements but when the iPhone launch date shifted from early Summer to Autumn, WWDC refocussed on software and developers. Nevertheless Apple used it as a launching pad for their next generation iOS operating system which powers iPhone and iPad in order to reveal info to developers that would help them make their apps work well with new features coming in the next phone.

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