The GAAP Between Apple and Investors

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Appleis subscription accounting method for iPhone and Apple TV, GAAP and non-GAAP revenue, forced by the Sarbanes-Oxley law is making increasingly difficult for some analysts and investors to sort out Appleis real value, according to Jim Goldman at CNBC. Even so, there is plenty of good market research that gives valuable insight into Appleis potential in all its markets, and itis up to everyone to find it and pay attention.

For the first time in Appleis last earnings report, it reported the traditional revenue and EPS numbers, but then tried to give a clealer picture of its financial success by providing the non-GAAP numbers -- which were astounding.

"Never mind nuances: If analysts offer the GAAP number for comparison, its the GAAP number we use. Lost, however, might be the real value of Apple itself, and the extraordinary growth this company is enjoying," Mr. Goldman wrote.

Despite that, some analysts are fretting about how to get a good mathematical handle on Appleis finances, given the two methods of accounting Apple invoked. However, Mr. Goldman suggested that thatis just part of the analystis job. Whatis really important, anyway, is the unit sales. The fact that Apple sold almost 7 million iPhones in the last quarter [more than RIM BlackBerries] shouldnit be lost on anyone.

Accounting illusion remain, however. "But these accounting illusions are creating tough times of their own for Apple because the company itself seems to be selling itself short, reporting GAAP numbers, but trying to emphasize non-GAAP after the fact. And investors are caught in the middle. Wall Street wonit focus on these numbers until Apple does. And it should. Wall Streetis a big boy. It can handle it," Mr. Goldman concluded.

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