One of the more interesting nuggets from the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) earnings, aside of questions about the sustainability of margins, is the change in accounting Apple will use for its iPhone and Apple TV. Several analysts have highlighted this as a reason for lowering their earnings forecasts for 2008.
Rather than recognize the revenue up front, based on the total price, it'll be accounted for as a subscription, which means while the money will be in the bank, there'll be no change in cash flow -- revenue and earnings will be deferred and amortized over two years rather than recognized immediately.
The change is required by accounting rules because Apple now says it will add new features to these products for free over time. Furthermore, as JP Morgan analyst Bill Shope says in a report, while he was "clearly too negative" going into the quarter, "We continue to believe the shares are priced for perfection at current levels." He is one of the brave few not to rate the stock a "buy."
Disclosure: Written on the Windows side of a MacBookPro with Windows Parallels.