Apple Keeps Hitting Earnings Numbers Out of the Park

The company sells 262 million connected devices at an average 38 percent gross margin and banks $8.5 billion in net income in the fourth quarter alone.

October is probably an appropriate time to use a baseball analogy, so here it is: Apple keeps hitting it out of the park when it comes to posting its business numbers.

Of course, what would one expect for a company that sells 262 million connected devices at an average 38 percent gross margin and banks $8.5 billion in net income in a mere three-month span?

Perhaps it would be appropriate here to simply list the facts and figures from Apple's Oct. 20 fourth-quarter earnings call:

--Q4 revenue: $42.1 billion, up 12 percent year-over-year;
--Earnings per share of $1.42, up 20 percent year-over-year;
--Q4 net income: $8.5 billion, up 13 percent over a year ago;
--a record $183 billion in revenues for the fiscal year, up $12 billion from 2013;
--243 million iOS devices sold;
--19 million Macs sold; Mac revenue set a new record;
--sales of iTunes, software and services hit $18 billion;
--iPhone revenue growth up 21 percent;
--Highest quarterly market share in personal computers since 1995;
--App Store income is up 36 percent over last year;
--Downloads eclipsed 85 billion overall.

There's more on the way: Apple Pay, which launched Oct. 20, will begin a new revenue stream during the next couple of years.

Apple posted an embarrassment of riches Oct. 20, but nobody in the company seems too embarrassed by its success. Apple now expects to post these numbers every quarter, and as time goes on, the company performs well despite all the pressure it undertakes.

The overall business numbers continue to be impressive. For example:

-- 163 million iPhones have been sold in the last four quarters; 35.2 million in the last quarter alone;
-- 225 million iPads have been sold—about a third of them, 70 million, in the last year;
-- 675,000 iPad apps are now available in the App Store;
-- sales of iMacs are up 18 percent—the rest of the PC industry is down 5 percent; and
-- Apple Pay went into general availability Oct. 20; 500 banks are now ready for it.

If there is one glitch, it would be that the company is not selling quite as many iPads as it thought it would, cutting back about 500,000 in inventory during the quarter. Overall, sales were down a couple of percentage points.

However, with the introduction Oct. 16 of the iPad 2 Air and another iPad Mini ahead of the holiday buying season -- and discounts on older iPads -- the company is expecting sales to take a turn northward.

"We're selling everything we make," CEO Tim Cook said on the call. He couldn't have put it more succinctly.

"Demand is far outstripping supply on iPhone," Cook said. "It’s unclear looking at the data when supply will catch up.

"It’s very difficult to gauge demand without first achieving a balance … we’re not nearly balanced; we’re not on the same planet. It's very unusual to see every country giving a marked improvement over last year," Cook said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...