NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Steve Jobs would often refer to a desirable Apple (AAPL) product as one in which all the features magically combine to give the user an unexpected and pleasing sensation of ultimate utility and quality. The whole exceeding the sum of its parts.
The same can be said for Apple's financials. Taken bit by bit, the things that Apple does on a routine basis end up driving revenues, frequently to record highs. Regrettably, perspective is often lacking. So let's take a close look at the product line.
1. iPad. Apple recently replaced its low end, full-size iPad, the iPad 2, with the iPad 4 (with better specs all around) while keeping the price at $399 for the basic model. This move had some thought behind it. As Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um pointed out on March 18, "The price reduction comes at a time where Samsung is launching a new Galaxy TabPRO line priced at $499 (Model 10.1/16GB/Wi-Fi) and positions AAPL to be more competitive in regards to pricing."
Apple always does things for a reason. In this case, the extreme quality of a generation-old iPad, with an attractive price and good gross margins, can go toe-to-toe with the competition's latest. There is wisdom in always making the best.
2. iPhone 5c. Contrarians mew that the iPhone 5c hasn't sold as well as the 5s. A price reduction could be construed as an admission of defeat. However, in practical business terms, Apple has been very adept at clearing out inventory with judicious price reductions.
Apple is now selling an 8 GB iPhone 5c for about $70 less than the 16GB model in non-U.S. markets.
Apple is clearly operating with good knowledge of customer needs and changing local market technology. Under the watchful eye of Tim Cook, it generally succeeds at clearing excess inventory. (Unlike Android's attempt, an 8GB iPhone is very usable.)
3. iPhone 5s & 5c. A recent Morgan Stanley (MS) report claims that it is consistently better at predicting total iPhone sales than the consensus estimates of analysts. And for the first calendar quarter of 2014, Morgan Stanley's AlphaWise Tracker calls for 42 million iPhones sold, 4 million more handsets than consensus estimates.