The Apple Financials Report: Let’s Not Get Carried Away

July 25th, 2007

By nearly any estimate, Apple is doing extremely well these days. For the fiscal quarter ending June 30th, for example, they beat the street once again, reporting record earnings of $5.41 billion, with a net profit of $818 million or $.92 per diluted share.

In contrast, last year’s quarterly results totaled $4.37 billion, with a quarterly profit of $472 million or $.54 per diluted share, and that was considered pretty good at the time.

In all, some 1,764,000 Macs were shipped, representing an improvement of 33% over last year, and more than 150,000 higher than any previous quarter. Clearly lots of people are buying Macs these days. Of these, 634,000 desktops were sold, compared to 529,000 last year. Note-book sales amounted to a whopping 1,130,000, compared to 798,000 last year. This amounts to 64% of all Macs. Alas, Apple long ago stopped breaking down sales by specific models in each category, but it’s clear that desktops are still moving at a pretty good clip, despite the speedier growth in portable computers.

Moreover, despite predictions that iPod sales would be flat, Apple reported moving 9,815,000 of them during the quarter, a 21% increase over last year.

Oh well, you should never take Wall Street estimates seriously, nor even some tech pundits who look for bad news at the back of everything that comes from Apple, even if it’s meant to be positive.

Take the iPhone. As I said yesterday, the report that only 146,000 units were activated by AT&T during the first 30 hours the product was on sale caused Apple’s stock to nosedive. Despite that, Steve Jobs says that the “iPhone is off to a great start — we help to sell our one-millionth iPhone by the end of the first full quarter of sales — and our new product pipeline is very strong.”

Indeed, during the conference call with analysts, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed that 270,000 iPhones were sold during those 30 hours, although the actual figures state “”iPhones and Apple-branded and third-party iPhone accessories.” Regardless of how this actually breaks down, it does seem more in line with what analysts were estimating before they got carried away and the numbers flew off the map. Apple COO Tim Cook repeated an earlier AT&T report, that they sold more iPhones during that critical weekend than any other wireless phone during any full month.

In addition, the initial problems activating those iPhones have supposedly been resolved, and those difficulties may be why iPhone activation figures were considerably less than expected. What’s even more interesting as that Apple claims they saw no evidence of “cannibalization” of iPod sales because of the arrival of the iPhone. So I suppose another theory voiced by some naysayers now bites the dust.

Now as the Wall Street trading day came to a close, Apple’s stock had even begun to recover an anticipation of positive results. But that won’t stop investors from freaking out at the merest suggestion of bad news in the future.

If you want to to get the raw, unvarnished figures, you can just check Apple’s site and decide for yourself.

There were a few more revelations during the course of Apple’s meeting with financial analysts, although some critical comments were held to the vest, as usual. The Apple retail store chain, now 185 strong, for example, delivered 33 percent year-over-year growth for the quarter, and more than 50% of new Mac sales went to customers who were new to the platform. Not answered, of course, is how Apple got those figures, unless they poll a random sampling of buyers.

So if anyone has actually purchase da new Mac from one of Apple’s own retailers, let us know if you were asked either at the store or when registering the product if you were an existing Mac user. I’m just curious, since Apple has been delivering switcher numbers in that range for several years now.

On another retail front, Cook said that Apple is pleased with its growing partnership with Best Buy, where an initial pilot program will expand to nearly 300 stores by the end of the year. This comes at a time where struggling CompUSA, with whom Apple had a long-standing relationship, has shuttered roughly half of its outlets.

In all, Best Buy has some 1,400 stores in the U.S., and, alas, none of the nearby branches have begun to carry Apple products outside of the iPod. I’d suspect, however, that Apple is going to be really careful about its expansion plans, to make sure that customers get the best possible buying experience. They surely don’t want a repetition of past behavior, where sales people would direct people to the PC box for which they received the highest kickback that week when prospective buyers came in asking about Macs.

To me, all this news sounds really positive, although I always reserve the right to be proven wrong.

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5 Responses to “The Apple Financials Report: Let’s Not Get Carried Away”

  1. Dana Sutton says:

    If my memory is right, the day Steve took over from John Sculley in 1993, a share of AAPL was selling for $11. Then it went up to $100, and split. Now a share of post-split AAPL is selling for $135 and I have read on the Web that in after-closing trading tonight it’s gone to $150. That’s one hell of a ride.

  2. Aaron says:

    IIRC Steve didn’t take over for Sculley, he took over for Gil Ameilo. Jean Louise Gassée (founder of BE Computing) replaced Sculley.

  3. KBeat says:

    Michael Spindler replaced Scully. He was then replaced by Amelio.

  4. That’s a lot of computers in one quarter. With the back-to-school blitz on I wouldn’t be surprised to see more than 2 million Macs sold in this next quarter.

  5. IIRC Steve didn’t take over for Sculley, he took over for Gil Ameilo. Jean Louise Gassée (founder of BE Computing) replaced Sculley.

    And Gassée never got his chance at the top. He tried to sell BE to Apple as well, and failed at that effort which, in retrospect, was a good thing.


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