Apple iPhones, iPads Sell Strongly Despite Android Competition
Apple reported sharp year-over-year spikes in sales of iPhones, Macs and iPads for its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter, suggesting that Google Android has done little to erode Apple's retail presence or margins.
Apple is currently locked in a number of intellectual-property suits against Android manufacturers, including HTC and Samsung, which threaten to limit where their respective devices can be sold.
Apple's revenue during the quarter hit $28.27 billion, resulting in a net profit of $6.62 billion: a marked increase over the year-ago quarter's $20.34 billion in revenue and $4.31 billion net profit. Gross margins also climbed over the previous 12 months, from 36.9 percent to 40.3 percent.
The company managed to sell some 17.07 million iPhones during the quarter, good for 21 percent growth year-over-year, along with 11.12 million iPads, a 166 percent unit increase over the same quarter in 2010. Sales of Macs over the same period increased 26 percent to 4.89 million units.
Despite that increase in iPhone sales, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg apparently expected a quarterly number in the 20 million range.
Apple reported a year-over-year decline in iPod sales of 27 percent. Indeed, those numbers have been softening for some time, with Apple traditionally blaming the downturn on cannibalization by the iPhone line. Ahead of October's revelation of the iPhone 4S, accompanied by a refresh of the iPod Touch, some speculation abounded that the company intended to kill off parts of the iPod line.
Apple's roller-coaster October included the Oct. 5 death of co-founder Steve Jobs from a longstanding battle with pancreatic cancer, the day after the company unveiled the iPhone 4S. Less than two weeks later, the iPhone 4S managed to sell 4 million units by the end of its first weekend of release, reaffirming the smartphone franchise's popularity.
Apple's Oct. 18 earnings call acknowledged Jobs' death. "The world has lost a visionary, a creative genius and amazing human being," Apple CEO Tim Cook told the media and analysts listening to the call. "His spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer then ran through the numbers, taking particular care to highlight iPhone and iPad penetration of the enterprise. Some 92 percent of the Fortune 500 are testing or deploying the iPad, he said.
Cook came back onto the call to suggest Apple was doing everything to ensure that iPhone 4S supply remained adequate to meet holiday demand. "We're confident that we will have a large supply," he said. "I don't want to predict when supply and demand might balance... I'm confident we will set an all-time record for iPhone this quarter."
He also summed up the iPad's current strength with regard to its competition, which consists primarily of Android-based tablets such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab. "Some had different form-factors, different price points, and I think it's reasonable to say that none of these have gained much traction thus far," he said, terming himself "extremely confident" about the iPad's prospects.