''Biggest ever'' iPhone launch drives strong Q4 Apple financials

Apple's fiscal fourth quarter financial results are in, and as expected, the iDevice maker raked in a boatload of money. For the three months ending September 27, Apple made $8.5 billion in profit on revenue of $42.1 billion. Both figures represent double-digit increases over the same period last year.

  Q4'14 Q4'13 Change
Revenue $42.1 billion $37.5 billion up 12%
Net profit $8.5 billion $7.5 billion up 13%
Gross margin 38% 37% up 1 point

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launched during the quarter, and they evidently had a big impact. In the press release announcing the Q4 results, CEO Tim Cook rather appropriately describes the arrival of the latest handsets as "the biggest iPhone launch ever." iPhone shipments increased 16% year-over-year, and revenue from those shipments surged 21%.

Mac sales were also up substantially over Q4'13, suggesting a lot of students picked up new MacBooks during the back-to-school season. They apparently weren't buying as many iPads as last year, because tablet sales declined by double digits. Here's the breakdown by device category:

  Q4'14 Q4'13 Change
  Units Revenue Units Revenue Units Revenue
iPhone 39.3 million $23.7 billion 33.8 million $19.5 billion up 16% up 21%
iPad 12.3 million $5.3 billion 14.1 million $6.2 billion down 13% down 14%
Mac 5.5 million $6.6 billion 4.6 million $5.6 billion up 21% up 18%
iPod 2.6 million $410 million 3.5 million $573 million down 24% down 28%
Other   $6.1 billion   $5.6 billion   up 8.9%

Apple released its latest iPads after the fiscal quarter ended, so some folks may have held off making purchases in anticipation of the new hotness. However, Apple has also reported negative year-over-year iPad growth for the last few quarters in a row.

Looking ahead to the holiday quarter, Apple expects revenue in the $63.5-66.5 billion range and a gross margin from 37.5-38.5%. For reference, the company reported $57.6 billion in revenue and a 37.9% gross margin during the holiday quarter last year.

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