Apple Earnings Soar Past Expectations with Record iPad, iPhone Sales

Sales of iPhones, iPads and Macintosh computers blew away all expectations for the quarter ended Dec. 31, Apple said Tuesday.

For the first quarter of its fiscal 2012 year, Apple announced record sales of $46.3 billion, surpassing forecasts of $38.9 billion and growing by more than 70 percent from the $26.7 billion it reported for the same period last year (though this year's quarter had an extra week).

Earnings of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 per share, also significantly surpassed expectations of $10.10 per share, and were more than double the $6 billion in profit for the same period last year.

Apple sold more than 37 million iPhones compared with 16.2 million year over year; 15.4 million iPads, compared with 7.2 million year over year; and 5.2 million Macs, a 26 percent increase year over year. On a conference call with investors, Apple executives said the company would have sold more iPhones and iPads had it not been for a backlog in its supply chain.

Nevertheless, the company's latest earnings report confirms that Apple's momentum with its iOS business continues to accelerate and is showing no sign of slowing down. While they acknowledged that smartphones based on Google's Android platform are outpacing the iPhone, Apple executives said they couldn't be more pleased with the quarter's results. "Our customers are loving iPhone and we're very happy with that," CEO Tim Cook said on the call.

Cook was equally happy about the progress of the iPad and reiterated his prediction that it would continue to eat away at PC use. "As I've said before, I clearly believe there will come a day that the tablet market in units is larger than the PC market," he said. "There is cannibalization clearly of the Macintosh by the iPad, but we continue to believe there [are] much more Windows PCs to be cannibalized."

Indeed, sales of Windows licenses declined 6 percent for the quarter ended Dec. 31, Microsoft reported last week.

Asked if he was concerned about the arrival of competitive tablets, Cook responded, "Last year was supposed to be the year of the tablet. Most people would agree it was the year of the iPad. We are just going to continue to innovate like crazy in this area and we can compete with anyone who is shipping tablets or might enter in the future."

The forthcoming entrants, he subsequently acknowledged, will be tablet PCs running Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8 platform. "There's a horse in Redmond that always suits up and always runs and will keep running and there's other players that we can never count out," Cook said.

Following are some other stats revealed by Apple:

  • There have been 55 million iPads shipped since the April 2010 launch.
  • There are 85 million users of Apple's recently released iCloud service.
  • There are 550,000 apps in the iTunes App Store, 170,000 of which are for the iPad.
  • There have been 100 million apps downloaded from the Macintosh App Store.

For the current quarter ending March 31, Apple is forecasting revenues of $32.5 billion, up from $24.7 billion year over year.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.