Apple's iPhone 4S and iPad helped drive a record quarter for the company, with $46.33 billion in revenues.
Apple sold 37.04 million iPhones and
15.43 million iPads during its fiscal 2012 first quarter, which ended Dec. 31.
That suggests a particularly strong holiday selling season for the company; the
iPhone number, for example, was well above the 30.2 million units predicted by
Overall, quarterly revenue totaled
$46.33 billion, with a net profit of $13.06 billion. That's a record for Apple,
and a noticeable uptick from the $26.74 billion in revenue and $6 billion in
profit recorded during the year-ago quarter.
Apple also sold 5.2 million Macs during
the quarter, an increase of 26 percent over the year-ago quarter. According to
the company, half those Macs were sold to customers who'd never owned an
Apple-built PC before. Sales of iPods decreased 21 percent over the year-ago
quarter, continuing a longstanding downward trend for the handheld media
player; Apple executives have regularly attributed that decline to
cannibalization by the iPhone.
Apple launched its most recent
smartphone, the iPhone 4S, in October. Although the device bears significant
outward similarities to its predecessor, the iPhone 4, it includes new features
such as Siri, a "digital personal assistant." A number of analysts, including
Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, had predicted that the iPhone 4S would prove a
strong seller throughout the holiday season; Apple's official data seems to
have borne out that proposition.
Despite price cuts to older versions of
the iPhone, the iPhone 4S was the company's bestselling variant of the smartphone.
During a Jan. 24 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed the iPhone's
robust sales numbers to a combination of what he called "breathtaking customer
reception" as well as pent-up demand from a particularly long gap between new
In response to an analyst question,
Cook spent some time defending the iPad's position in the increasingly crowded
tablet space. "We don't really see these limited-function tablets and e-readers
as being in the same category," he said, alluding to Amazon's Kindle Fire
tablet, an Android-based device that proved to be a strong holiday seller. "I
don't think people who want an iPad will settle for a limited function."
He added: "Last year was supposed to be
the year of the tablet, and I think most people will agree it was the year of
the iPad, for the second year in a row. So we're going to continue to innovate
like crazy in this area."
Probed by another analyst about Apple's
strategy for the living room, Cook suggested that while Apple TV-a palm-sized
device designed to stream content to the user's television-had performed well
during the quarter, he considered the initiative a "hobby." Predictably, he
neglected to discuss Apple's future strategy in that area, which (according to
scuttlebutt) might include actual television sets either in late 2012 or early
Apple executives regularly decline to
comment about the company's upcoming projects. Nonetheless, the rumor mill
suggests that the next iPad, possibly with a higher-resolution screen than the
first two iterations, will make an appearance within the next few months; in
addition, the next iPhone-colloquially dubbed "iPhone 5" by the tech
media-could debut in the summer or fall.
Later in 2012, Apple will face
significant competition in the form of tablets running Microsoft's upcoming
Windows 8. Various manufacturers also continue to produce Google Android
smartphones, which collectively have managed to seize significant parts of the
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.