Wednesday, 20 July 2011 09:35

Apple's run of record results continues


Apple has booked yet another record quarterly profit on the back of - you guessed it - record revenue.

Apple made a record $US7.31 billion net profit in its June 2011 quarter, up from $US3.25 billion year-on-year. A new revenue record was also set: $US28.57 billion, compared with $US15.70 billion for the year-ago quarter.

"We're thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82% and profits up 125%," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Right now, we're very focused and excited about bringing iOS 5 and iCloud to our users this fall."

Where did the growth come from? iPhone sales were up 142% to 20.34 million, and 9.25 million iPads were sold, up 183%. iPhone growth more than doubled IDC's latest estimate of overall smartphone sales growth, said chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer, with sales being "particularly robust" in the Asia Pacific region with sales almost quadrupling.

"We sold every iPad we could make," he said. Total channel inventory of just over 1 million units was "well below" the company's goal of four to six weeks supply.

Apple's tablet is now available in 64 countries, and 86% of the Fortune 500 are deploying or testing the iPad, up from 75% in the previous quarter. 47% of the Global 500 companies are doing the same.

How did the Mac and Apple's other devices perform? Please read on.

Even though Mac sales only grew by 14% to 3.95 million, Mr Oppenheimer said that was a June quarter record.

He went on to favourably compare that 14% growth with IDC's latest estimate of 3% growth for the overall PC market. Mac sales growth was also particularly strong - 57% year-on-year - in the Asia Pacific region.

iPod sales continue to decline, this time by 20% to 7.54 million units - "ahead of our expectations" according to Mr Oppenheimer. That's hardly surprising given the huge growth in iPhone sales (if you've got an iPhone, you probably don't need an iPod too.)

Mr Oppenheimer noted that the iPod touch still account for more than half of total iPod sales, and that the iPod still takes over 70% of the US market for MP3 players and is still the leading product in most geographical markets that the company tracks.

iOS revenue figures have been slightly depressed by Apple's decision to start deferring revenue related to the future delivery of iCloud services, and this will take full effect in the current quarter.

Mr Oppenheimer also mentioned an unspecified iOS product transition that would affect revenue in the current quarter. There has been much speculation that the iPhone 5 will be released in September. "We are incredibly confident about... our new product pipeline," he said.

As for the performance of Apple's various Stores (and a certain 'hobby'), see page 3.

The iTunes Store generated $US1.4 billion revenue, up 36%. It is the world's number one music retailer, he said.

As for the Apple TV, chief operating officer Tim Cook said it was still "a hobby" rather than one of the legs of Apple's product strategy. "We love the product... we really got it right, but right now it's hobby status. We're continuing to invest in it because we think there's something there."

Apple's retail stores also saw record results, with $US3.5 billion revenue, 36% up on the year-ago quarter. Four new stores were opened during the quarter. Average revenue per store rose from $US9 million to $US10.8 million.

An Apple Store is opening in Penrith this weekend. 29 other stores are expected to open this quarter, including Apple's first in Hong Kong.

Mr Oppenheimer explained that the improvement in Apple's overall gross margin from 39.1% to 41.7% was due to improvements in the iPhone mix, lower  commodity and other costs, "and leverage on the higher revenue."

Apple's legendary cash and securities pile totalled $76.2 billion, up $US10.4 billion on the previous quarter. While the company has been criticised for holding so much cash and near cash, the practice facilitates  strategic acquisitions and reportedly allows the company to strike favourable deals with suppliers.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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