NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple posted a massive fiscal fourth quarter that saw record-breaking iPhone sales during the period. All the indications are that the company will continue to report quarter after quarter of massive earnings as long as it can continue to release innovative products.
on Jan. 24 announced a record-breaking fiscal first quarter for the 14 weeks
ended Dec. 31
. The company earned a $13.06 billion profit on revenue of
$46.33 billion. What's more, Apple sold 37 million iPhones and 15 million
iPads. The quarter showed once again how important Apple is to the industry,
and that there's little chance of any other company in the space coming close
to matching it in the near future.
there were many more takeaways from Apple's financial performance during the
fourth quarter. As with any company, Apple must continue to innovate and
deliver the products consumers want. Past quarters are usually a good
indication of how the company's strategy to achieve that goal is working out.
Past quarters also provide solid insight into those things that matter most to
on to find out what Apple's huge fourth quarter says not only about the iPhone
maker, but the entire technology industry in 2012. Spoiler: good things for
Apple, and bad things for competitors.
1. There's no slowing the iPhone down
the 37 million iPhones Apple sold during the fourth quarter tell us anything,
it's that there's simply no slowing down Apple's smartphone. The handset is
wildly popular around the world, and that will only continue.
Its competitors can only
hope for a distant
2. There's no slowing the iPad down, either
chances of the iPad's sales slowing to a crawl in the coming quarters are also
slim. The device, even after several months on store shelves, was still popular
last quarter. With the continuing speculation that a new iPad will be launching
this quarter, iPad sales should remain strong.
3. The iPod is dying
this talk of strong sales leaves out one key feature of Apple's financial
statements that was easy to overlook-declining iPod sales. According to Apple,
iPod sales dropped 21 percent year-over-year last quarter, totaling 15.4
million unit sales. That figure is nothing to sneeze at, but as more consumers
buy iPhones, the need for an iPod will diminish. In a few quarters, the iPod
might be just about dead.
4. Apple has tons of cash to do whatever it
to CFO Peter Oppenheimer, Apple has $97.6 billion of cash on hand. That's more
than cash reserves of the vast majority of countries around the world, and it
gives Apple the leverage it needs to do whatever it wants. Will it acquire
other companies? Will it pay out dividends? The choice is Apple's.