Apple Is Learning to Really Sell

Jason Snell’s interpretation of Apple’s second quarter results is a must-read:

There was a time — a very long time, in fact — when Apple didn’t need to make much of an attempt to actually sell iPhones. I don’t want to imply that the act of creating new iPhone models and new versions of iOS wasn’t an enormous task — it was. My point is, after the phones arrived on the scene, people really wanted them. And Apple just needed to make as many as it could and make them available in Apple retail stores and other locations, and they’d fly off the shelves.

That era ended last fall. And as Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri made clear on Tuesday’s conference call with analysts as a part of reporting the company’s latest quarterly results, Apple is now turning around iPhone sales by being more active when it comes to selling those iPhones to customers.

It isn’t just the iPhone. Services — Apple’s other really big business — has grown in part because of how much Apple has been actively selling them to customers. Investors are loving this; I’m not sure users are enjoying this more aggressive sales effort, though.

Update: An acute correlating observation from Dr. Drang:

Apple stopped reporting unit sales last quarter, and I just don’t care as much about revenue as I do (did) about unit sales. I know they’re tied together, but the emphasis has been turned around. Unit sales are about what Apple is doing for us; revenue is about what we’re doing for Apple.

Unit sales may not be a wholly accurate metric by which to judge a new product; there are lots of reasons why sales may not go up even when the products are very good. But an increasing focus on sales of products raises questions in my head about this more forceful push.