Apple posts another round of record quarterly results

Every quarter seems to break some kind of new record for Apple lately. This time, the company says its fourth fiscal quarter set new high-water marks almost across the board: revenue, profits, and Mac, iPhone, and iPad shipments. The only part of Apple’s business that shrank was the iPod, but that’s not exactly a new trend—and fresh iPhone shipments seem to be more than making up for it.

Financially, Apple saw some pretty sizable increases both sequentially and compared to the same quarter a year back. Gross margins took a hit, though:

   Q4FY09 Q3FY10 Q4FY10
Revenue  $12.21 billion $15.70 billion  $20.34 billion
Net profit  $2.53 billion  $3.25 billion  $4.31 billion
Gross margin  41.8%  39.1% 36.9%

In terms of unit shipments, the iPhone looks to growing faster than ever. The iPad ain’t doing so bad, either:

   Q4FY09 Q3FY10 Q4FY10
Macs  3.05 million 3.47 million 3.89 million
iPods  10.2 million 9.41 million 9.05 million
iPhones  7.4 million 8.40 million 14.1 million
iPads  – 3.27 million 4.19 million

Apple expects to one-up itself again this quarter, with revenue projected to hit $23 billion. Presumably, that small commercial event known as "the holidays" will help drive new shipment records, as well.

Comments closed
    • My Johnson
    • 9 years ago

    Why. Why did I not buy their stock when Google seemed so overpriced years ago?

    But I have to wonder if this is all Jobs. If he kicks the can I highly doubt Apple could keep it going.

      • blastdoor
      • 9 years ago

      That’s the big question… My guess is that when Jobs leaves Apple will experience a mini-surge as they start to do some of the obvious things that would boost profits but that Jobs refused to do just out of sheer eccentricity. For example, they could start getting a higher ROI on their cash hoard, they could introduce products that make a lot of sense business-wise but that Jobs refuses to sell out of his own sense of aesthetics — stuff like that. My guess is that those sorts of things would give Apple about a five year boost, during which time people will start to wonder if Jobs was such a big deal after all. Stories will be written about how Apple’s post-Jobs success proves that individual leaders really don’t matter that much after all, blah blah blah.

      But once Apple management runs out of obvious things to do we’ll start to feel the absence of Jobs. The company will start to branch out into too many product lines, turf battles will start killing good new ideas to defend old products, and the company will slowly lose its edge. It will remain pretty profitable for many years, but growth will stall. The board will be forced to do something other than cash their checks and eat danishes — they’ll have to think about getting a new CEO. But of course, corporate boards don’t really know how to pick a good CEO, so they’ll just grab some guy they read about in Rolling Stone and hope to hell he’s the next Steve Jobs. Maybe he will be, probably he won’t be.

      And then people will decide that yeah, maybe El Jobso really was pretty special after all.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        my advice is: use the electrical against the water to take him down!!

    • jackbomb
    • 9 years ago

    Pretty soon, I’m gonna be the cool one for not carrying a laptop with the glowing fruit. I can’t wait. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • pdjblum
      • 9 years ago

      As far as I am concerned, you have always been the cool one. I like sheep, but followers are not cool.

    • Thresher
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t get the Apple hate. I suspect it has something to do with reverse Apple snobbery, like the uncool kids who gang together and become Goths or something. But the pure venom just mystifies me.

    People like the Apple products, ergo they are willing to pay a premium. Apple keeps announcing huge profits quarter after quarter, so at least for now, it appears that customers are still hungry for more. Other companies are having difficulties in this market, Apple keeps setting record profits.

    So, what’s wrong with this? Simply because you think Apple is overpriced or not worthy of the praise, you think your opinion means more than the market? Certainly, customers can be ill informed. They can even be fooled from time to time. But a company that continually screws its customers in the way that you are insinuating will go broke. And yet Apple keeps carting in money by the dumptruck.

    Is it a fad? Possibly, but it’s been going on for over 10 years now, since the introduction of the iMac. Fads don’t usually last that long.

    I will submit that Apple haters do not know more than the market. I suspect it’s either sour grapes because they can’t afford a Mac or pure contrariness that forms their statements. They’re like the guy that says “I like band X before they became popular, now they’ve sold out” or only listens to obscure bands and then tells everyone else how badly their taste in music sucks. They are, in fact, Techno-Hipsters.

    Some things are popular because people actually like them. Not because they’ve been snowed or conned. I don’t know why it is so hard for some people to understand this and just deal with it.

      • esterhasz
      • 9 years ago

      Besides the question of why the hate, I believe that the marketeers at Apple know very well that some of their decisions on pricing, features, esthetics, etc. are quite controversial but this only heightens their products’ mindshare and nothing is more productive for brand loyalty than the puerile rants that appear in every thread about their stuff.

      That aside, people have the impression that Mac OS X being still relatively virus free, no driver updates, etc. will save them time. If you have a halfway qualified job, money is no longer the issue, time is. If you count your own time at let’s say $50 an hour, a single virus induced reinstall can cost you more than the price difference between systems. I’m not saying that this reasoning is correct but people make decisions based on such projections – seen this way, a SSD for your laptop or other things that seem expensive are actually quite cheap. Data loss can be catastrophic for certain people and software like Time Machine add to the impression that it is less hassle to protect yourself on a Mac…

        • blastdoor
        • 9 years ago

        I think many people don’t understand the concept of “opportunity cost of time”. It’s nice to see a post by somebody who clearly does understand that concept.

        A little anecdote along those lines…

        From 2000-2006, my household was a PC household. Like every PC household, we spent time running all of the anti-virus and malware detection/protection software that people with PCs have to run. We didn’t experience anything devastating, but there was plenty of malware to be removed on a regular basis and it took time to deal with the issue.

        From 2006-now, my household has been a Mac household. We still download torrents and do all the other naughty things we’re not supposed to do. But we have no antivirus or antimalware software and we have ZERO virus/malware problems. None.

        Meanwhile, during that same time period, several of my coworkers have lost their work computers — the ones loaded with anti-virus software, sitting behind a corporate firewall, with trained IT guys maintaining them — to totally debilitating virus attacks. These folks weren’t downloading torrents or visiting unsavory websites (we’re talking middle age moms with no time to mess around with naughty websites). They were just doing their jobs, following all the “right” corporate procedures, but nevertheless — blammo.

        Yes, the Mac is not as technically secure as Windows 7. Microsoft is better about releasing patches to address vulnerabilities than Apple. But regardless of fairness, Windows is the target of 99.99% of virus makers. That means that Apple gets a free pass. It might be undeserved, but it’s real, and it affects user experience. And it’s not like it’s going to change anytime soon. Apple could quadruple Mac sales and still be a small piece of the international PC pie.

          • travbrad
          • 9 years ago

          I mainly run Windows (7 now, XP until then) and never get viruses. Anecdotal evidence is fun isn’t it?

          That being said I’ve never had a virus (with my somewhat limited experience) on a Mac either. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • pdjblum
      • 9 years ago

      They are “snowed or conned” into believing that a Windows 7 pc cannot be as good as or better than an Apple. A well designed, well built pc with quality components will be less expensive and just as reliable as an Apple at the same performance level.

        • Decelerate
        • 9 years ago

        That’s exactly the problem though. Efficient industrial design. Find a PC designed with the quality of an imac, or a laptop with the quality of a macbook pro. Towers remotely sleek go to 200$ Lian-Li or that insanely pricey Thermaltake, and yet an imac has no tower to speak of.

        On the laptop side one can argue with Lenovo, but those thinkpads still don’t have the sleekness of a mbp.

        I’m all for sleek PCs. I’m building a rig currently (waiting on the review of those AMD cards, only missing component), but even that mini P180 is a huge clunk of metal that needs space, compared to my brother’s minimalistic 24″ 2008 imac

          • pdjblum
          • 9 years ago

          Please note I said at the same performance level. I have a feeling that your box is going to be both way more powerful and upgradeable than a similarly priced rig you can buy from Apple. The many people I have build pc’s for over the years really like their pc’s, and the overwhelming majority of those were running something other than Win 7. For many of them, we have added an ssd and loaded Win 7 on it, giving them a nice performance boost, a nice operating system, and an extended lifespan.

            • Decelerate
            • 9 years ago

            Maybe, but it doesn’t address the fact that the boxes you built for your friends don’t have the sleek look of mac products.

            One of the collateral damages is the multiplication of cables. the imac has 3 cables out of the computer: power, keyboard, mice (assuming none of the peripherials are wireless). A typical computer will have at least 3 more: tower power cable, vga/dvi/hdmi cable, sound cable. More if the speakers are their own set and not monitor speakers.

            Internally it has the same philosophy (that Blastdoor covers with his opportunity cost post): you cannot run a naked Win 7 computer reliably: Drivers, antivirus, anti-malware/anti-spamware are a must.

            Apple’s “It just works” is another take on the “Keep it Simple, Stupid” mantra that many appreciate.

            • pdjblum
            • 9 years ago

            hey decelerate. I always use a handsome, functional aluminum case in my builds, and I will never skimp on the psu, the heart of the beast. There are beautiful lian li mid towers for less than $100. Microsoft Security Essentials is all you need. It is free, it is unnoticeable, and it performs spectacularly.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            Sizzle vs steak. Is your computer a tool or a fashion statement/(insert whatever other ego-feeding reason you like)? Apple clearly sells the sizzle and they sure know how to market and create hype but the steak is not really any better.

            • Decelerate
            • 9 years ago

            Just because it’s a tool doesn’t mean that it should be clogging. With your reasoning all computers would still be the size of a wall.

            From the numbers above Apple is selling sizzling steak. Maybe not your preference (rare vs medium), but they are selling.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            How exactly did you get clogging or ‘the size of a wall’ from what I said? What you are talking about is more design aesthetic than actual physical size – there are plenty of compact and all-in-one PCs.

            • Skrying
            • 9 years ago

            Except they do a number of things better. They do the screens better, the battery life better, the touch pad better and the chassis better than anyone on the market. Those are all major tools when using a computer. Apple may charge a premium on some of their products but they also sell the only computer like their product. Even the competing lines from other companies don’t address Apple dead on. Take HP’s Envy series which is cleared designed to look like a Apple knock off. They took the more gamer centric route and complete ignored battery life.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            Yes, some things are better but the betterness is not proportional to the price. The cachet of Apple products is a large part of their popularity and you can’t deny that. I guess people get off on attention from other people based on how cool their mass produced depreciating asset is ๐Ÿ˜‰

            Great for them, I don’t need the ego stroke so I’m good though. What’s funny is that it seems almost like the people I see are either neurotically addicted to their cell phones (heck, even texting, let alone smartphoning) or almost have to go out of their way to get value out of their device. I’m a technophile but even I realize that having a bunch of gadgets and ‘stuff’ is non-fulfilling and if you have to go out of your way to find utility then what’s the point? And yes, to end this rant it pisses me off seeing a bunch of people walking around zombie-like all looking at their portable screens instead of taking in who and what is immediately around them.

            • glynor
            • 9 years ago

            l[

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            +1 gazillion

            • Thresher
            • 9 years ago

            How many people actually build their own computers? We are part of a very, very small group. I used to think we have an outsized influence for our size, but I don’t think that’s true anymore.

            Computers have become a commodity to a large extent. HPs, Dells, etc. are often built side by side in the same factories.

            While Apple builds in those factories too, they spend much more time on the industrial design and materials that the PC manufacturers do. It’s simply logical, since they don’t directly compete either on the OS level or on the industrial design level. Apple makes a premium product.

            Sony THINKS it makes a premium product, but even their equipment that they market at the Apple price levels really doesn’t have an upscale aesthetic, not to the extent Apple does.

            The guts on all of these are mostly the same, although Apple probably customizes a bit more. But how they are put together, well that’s where Apple just seems to dominate.

        • Corrado
        • 9 years ago

        Thats not true at all. Its a PERSONAL CHOICE. Some people like Macs. They’re not snowed into it. Are people snowed into buying a BMW over a Subaru or a Hyundai? The BMW costs more for the same thing! In fact, the Subaru has AWD standard, a turbo motor, and leather seats all for less money than an entry level Bimmer, but that doesn’t necessarily make the BMW owner ‘snowed’ because he bought a car that was engineered on a completely different level. The BMW uses a straight 6 cylinder, the Subaru a turbo 4. Different ways to get the same power. Just like OS X vs Windows are different OS’s that help you get your work done. Which is ‘better’? Neither. They’re simply different and some people prefer a turbo’s torque, others prefer a 6’s smoothness.

      • srg86
      • 9 years ago

      It’s simple, I don’t want to be dictated to. I want to build the machine I want with the hardware I want. I don’t like Apple’s “walled garden” approach. It’s why Id chose a PC over a Mac. I’d also have an Android device over an iOS device too, because of the Jobsian control freakery.

      I also can’t stand Jobs’s arrogance.

        • blastdoor
        • 9 years ago

        That’s a reasonable explanation for not wanting to buy Apple products. It’s not an explanation for apple hate.

          • indeego
          • 9 years ago

          jobs = apple. The company is him and he is the company. Nobody hates Pixar, interestingly enoughg{<.<}g

      • WaltC
      • 9 years ago

      /[

        • jackbomb
        • 9 years ago

        Jobs is the main reason I won’t touch anything made by Apple. In fact I recently deMac’ed my house by replacing my G5 powered “Jukebox” with an old Barton 2800+ machine.

        I know, it was a childish thing to do, but it /[

    • no51
    • 9 years ago

    Interesting to see that their shipments of ipods have continually decreased. iphone/ipad cannibalizing sales??

      • Decelerate
      • 9 years ago

      I think it’s more about general market decline. Why buy an MP3 player when your phone plays MP3s?

      Kinda like the Sony Walkman. It owned its market, but the market itself (cassette players) dissapeared.

      But in a sense, yeah, cannibalization from iphones.

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    There’s another interesting article on CNN’s Fortune site today:

    ยง[<http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/10/19/the-cost-of-14-million-iphones/<]ยง l[

    • anotherengineer
    • 9 years ago

    CHA-CHING

    I wonder if Jobs bought a few back up organs with his stock bonus lol

    He should be able to donate just as much as Gates with those numbers.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      Not likely, Gates’ personal wealth far exceeds that of Jobs.

    • glynor
    • 9 years ago

    Interestingly… If you count tablets as “computers”, then Apple is now the #1 US computer manufacturer.

    ยง[<http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/10/18/what-if-the-ipad-were-a-pc/<]ยง It certainly isn't quite the same thing, of course. But still, Acer has taken a big hit, and they grew so quickly mostly on the back of their netbooks. The iPad is obviously taking market share away from the netbook category, so why is it fair to exclude it from the "PC sales figures" thrown around. But... In the end, market share doesn't matter, really. You can own the market and still run your business into the ground.

      • blastdoor
      • 9 years ago

      So long as Apple gets to keep the profit from each iPad sold, I doubt they care how the iPad is classified by the bean counters who tally up marketshare numbers.

      But for the record, I agree with the marketshare bean counters on this one. I think that the iPad really is a new category of device and that it’s just stretching the definition of “PC” too far to include the iPad. Having said that, however, I do think that it’s a useful exercise to calculate what marketshare numbers would be if the iPad were counted as a PC, since it puts the success of the iPad in perspective.

      An interesting question, though, is how one should classify a Windows 7 based slate/tablet. Is that in the same class as a PC or as the iPad? I think I’d argue that it’s in the same class as the PC… which is why it will fail.

        • glynor
        • 9 years ago

        Oh, I agree. I don’t think it is the same thing as a PC by any means, but yes, it is interesting to look at nonetheless.

        And, no… Apple doesn’t care about market share. They never have. They care about making money.

        In fact, I think they would prefer to NOT have too high of a market share on their Macs. Dominating the market like that comes with way too many problems (and their sales model prevents it anyhow).

          • blastdoor
          • 9 years ago

          I think you’re probably right about not wanting too high of marketshare… one problem with having a marketshare that is too high is that then you have to serve a lot of people who frankly are not very appealing customers — the kind who complain a lot but are unwilling to pay for anything. I’m sure that there are companies that have gone out of business trying to cater to that type of customer.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 9 years ago

    HOLY APPLE. They could buy Nvidia, AMD, and ARM together in a blink.

      • kyboshed
      • 9 years ago

      Or they could buy Facebook… (http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20101018/live-apple-earnings-call-2/)

      I personally can’t see it happening but, I don’t use Facebook either.

        • blastdoor
        • 9 years ago

        I hope they don’t buy facebook. I realize that I’m probably in the minority on this, but I think facebook is not only a giant waste of time but also a very poorly thought out service, particularly with respect to protection of privacy. I’m “on facebook” but I stopped actively using it several months ago for these reasons.

          • Corrado
          • 9 years ago

          What privacy? Anyone that publicly posts their photos and thoughts online should not expect any form of privacy. If you want something PRIVATE, keep it PRIVATE. Facebook doesn’t make you put in any info other than your email address. If you don’t want something shared, DON’T SHARE IT. I don’t see the big problem.

            • blastdoor
            • 9 years ago

            Exactly. And so I don’t use facebook anymore.

            Basically, if there is something that you would like to share with some people but not all people, then you can’t put it on facebook. Which to me makes facebook useless, because anything that is so banal that I don’t mind sharing it with every single person I currently know or might someday know is not worth posting.

            But, like I said, I’m clearly in the minority.

    • StuG
    • 9 years ago

    I’ll come right out and say it. Booooooooo

    I have nothing against their products, or against their operating system. I think that they just overprice stupid customers into the ground.

    Than again, most businesses or corporations do, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have a problem with it. I hate Apple as much as I hate every other OEM vendor out there. The only saving grace they use to have was the Iphone because most smart phones sucked. Now that is changed, and the Iphone 4 is garbage.

    I hope the Apple fad ends soon ‘>.>

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      fanboy alert.

        • wobbles-grogan
        • 9 years ago

        Yarp.

        Let the people who buy apple buy apple. Nothing off your back really…

        • StuG
        • 9 years ago

        Fanboy Alert? What the hell am I being a fanboy of? I honestly have an issue with the whole of OEM computer builders. It just happens that out of all of them, Apple tends to be the worst for what it charges for its products. Dell, HP, and Acer are going the opposite route. They are making total crap and pricing it cheap. Apple is making decent products, but charging WAY to much for them.

        And your right, it is no sweat off my back. But in reality, I would love to own an Apple product. They perform pretty well and are build in a nice fashion (mainly talking about the Mac Probook here, even more directly the one with the removeable battery) but due to their absorbent prices its not even close to a realistic material desire.

        I am willing to spend money on new technology. I am not willing to spend 2x more than I should have too.

      • Corrado
      • 9 years ago

      If they were truly overpricing people into the ground, they wouldn’t keep selling more and more. Something is only overpriced when the market decides that it is overpriced. Based on their earnings report, I’d say the market doesn’t believe they are overpriced.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        +1.

        Mad revenue growth. Compensates the decreasing gross margin nicely.

        • StuG
        • 9 years ago

        The market is stupid. Just because something is happening and the market is willing to take the abuse doesn’t mean its not wrong. Its not really a matter of having the market go “I am willing to pay more for this product because I know how much it really takes to produce this item and am ok with the extra cost” its more like “I have no clue how much compute parts cost to make, and I have no real clue whats in this Apple laptop, I just know its Apple, its pretty, and everyone will love me if I have one”.

        The fact is, that the market doesn’t solve everything. There is no reason why someone can’t be against inflated product prices even if the market is alright with it.

        Rich people in California I’m sure complain about gas prices way less than poor people in Georgia.

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          +1 markets aren’t smart. they don’t fix everything. I can’t sell my body even though it’s legal, the market would suggest that eventually, at some price, somebody would pay. But they don’t.

          • Corrado
          • 9 years ago

          Sure you can be against it, but that doesn’t mean they’re “overpriced into the ground” as you put it. That implies that no one is buying them because of the high price. The numbers seem to dictate otherwise.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 9 years ago

          The market is stupid because, guess what, people are stupid. The whole Smithian ‘perfectly rational marketplace’ idea is being undermined by experiments and research in to the effects of the inherently irrational people who make up the market – just having a lot of irrational people doesn’t make them rational. Case in point – the guy who bought an iPad even though he was well behind on his mortgage or maybe already in foreclosure. Completely irrational decision, not that Apple is the only beneficiary of it, but it exemplifies the problem with the ‘rational marketplace’ model.

            • Corrado
            • 9 years ago

            And by other here’s rationale, the man only bought it because it was an Apple product. No one has ever made an irrational purchase on an Android product, or Windows product, ever. Its all because Apple lies to them. I laugh at nerds that pride themselves on being ‘different’ from the mainstream, and hate the mainstream, but then get upset when the mainstream doesn’t think and act the way that they do. If everyone bought Android and Linux and whatever else, wouldn’t that make THEM mainstream? Would they then buy Apple products?

            Remember 10-15 years ago when using Windows was evil and M$ was the devil etc etc? And now that theres a true alternative to Windows in the consumer market place, Windows is the best and M$ is the good guy? Make up your mind. Microsoft didn’t change, they’re just the underdog in your eyes now. Its like hating Stalin until you met Pol Pot, then all of a sudden Stalin is a model citizen.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            You entirely missed the point by looking at it through Apple colored glasses. Yes, it was just a single anecdotal case but it’s not about buying Apple vs MS vs Android vs whatever, it’s about b[

            • blastdoor
            • 9 years ago

            Because people are stupid, every system involving people will be stupid. And so the question becomes — what is the least stupid system? I think the answer is a regulated market (central planning crashed and burned and a totally free market is so stupid that it’s never even been tried), which is basically what we’ve got when it comes to computers and consumer electronics.

            So the least stupid system that has so far been devised by (admittedly stupid) humans has declared Apple a great success. That would suggest that of all the stupid products out there made by and for stupid people, Apple’s products are some of the least stupid (but certainly still stupid! God forbid we ever call people anything other than stupid!) out there.

            Is everybody stupid happy now?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            Least stupid is still stupid. And I never said stupid, just irrational and that’s in the context of the supposed ‘perfectly rational’ Smithian market.

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