Cook: Carrier policies hurt N.A. sales; Apple "intrigued" by payments

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

Peter Oppenheimer states channel inventory shifts are partly responsible for Apple's (AAPL) FQ2 sales guidance. Whereas inventories rose in FQ2 a year ago due to iPhone 5/iPad Mini shortages in FQ1, Apple exited this year's FQ1 with iPhone/iPad supply and demand nearly in balance. Of course, that also means inventory shifts gave a lift to Apple's Y/Y performance in FQ1.

Oppenheimer also notes the impact of revenue deferrals - Apple's deferred revenue balance rose 13% Q/Q to $11.4B, as a portion of hardware sales get deferred due to software/services bundling.

Tim Cook says changes in carrier policies (a hard requirement for 24 months between subsidized upgrades) hurt North American iPhone sales; U.S. carriers have been trying hard to lower subsidy expenses. On the other hand, Cook declares last week (China Mobile's launch week) was Apple's best yet for Chinese iPhone activations.

Cook on mobile payments: "The mobile payments area in general is one that we’ve been intrigued with and that was one of the thoughts behind the Touch ID. But we’re not limiting ourselves just to that." The comments come in the wake of the WSJ's report about an Apple payments service.

Also: 1) 78% of Apple's $159B cash/investment balance is offshore. 2) Japanese iPhone sales, boosted by DoCoMo's launch, rose 40% Y/Y. But a weak yen resulted in Apple's total Japanese revenue rising only 11%. Chinese iPhone sales rose 20%. 3) Cook doesn't say much about buybacks in the face of Carl Icahn's ongoing campaign, other than to reiterate Apple has "been a big believer" in them.

AAPL -7.7% AH. More on Apple's earnings.