Apple posts record revenue, lower profits

Folks on Wall Street were awaiting Apple's latest quarterly results with bated breath. By the looks of it, they were pleasantly surprised when Apple posted those results earlier this afternoon. While the company's profits took a dive, its $43.6-billion revenue broke a new record—and according to Reuters, it was higher than the $42.3 billion analysts had predicted.

   Q2 FY'12 Q1 FY'13 Q2 FY'13
Revenue $39.2 billion $54.5 billion $43.6 billion
Net profit $11.6 billion $13.1 billion $9.5 billion
Gross margin 47.4% 38.6% 37.5%

Similarly, Reuters says sales of iPhones and iPads "surpassed investors' lowered expectations." Apple shipped about 7% more iPhones and 65% more iPads than it did a year ago. Shipments of Macs and iPods were lower than in the previous quarter and in the same quarter a year back. That said, Mac shipments didn't do too badly considering the huge, double-digit decline in overall PC shipments this past calendar quarter.

   Q2 FY'12 Q1 FY'13 Q2 FY'13
iPhones 35.1 million 47.8 million 37.4 million
iPads 11.8 million 22.9 million 19.5 million
Macs 4.02 million 4.06 million 3.95 million
iPods 7.7 million 12.7 million 5.6 million

In Apple's earnings release, CEO Tim Cook trumpets the "record March quarter revenue" and the "continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad.” He goes on to say, "Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline."

That's not all Apple stockholders have to be happy about. According to Reuters, Apple will give back $100 billion to shareholders through an "expanded program," which will include higher dividends, share buybacks, and "issuing debt for the first time."

For its ongoing third fiscal quarter, Apple expects revenue to fall in the $33.5-35.5 billion range, with gross margin at 36-37%. The company posted $35 billion revenue and a 42.8% gross margin for Q3 FY'12, so it sounds like we can expect flat or slightly down revenue growth and a continued erosion of gross margin. I guess Apple's increasing focus on low-cost, high-volume devices like the iPad mini—and the rumored plastic iPhone—will continue to translate into less copious margins going forward.

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