Apple is expected to break all records in its latest quarter with massive sales of iPhones and iPads, and the promise of more hot releases in the year ahead. The numbers are in and, with hopes of a $40 billion quarter, Apple demolished expectations with $46 billion in revenue.
Apple on a Roll
Before the start of its investor call, the good news keeps falling in Apple's lap, at Verizon, iPhones currently account for 54% of all smartphone sales at the giant telco. Also, Gartner has just named Apple as the world's biggest buyer of semiconductors, which will increase its dominance in the supply chain.
The company will use that power to get the latest processors at the best prices, as well as exclusive parts and features. Its rise in semis, up nearly 25%, puts it ahead of HP and Samsung, two major rivals who can ill afford to fall further behind.
As a bonus, not only is BlackBerry going to go through some disarray as it rallies around its new boss, but Microsoft's Windows Phone is not likely to be a pulling level until 2015. With Apple's new iBooks initiative seeming to have shaken up the textbook market, another string to Apple's bow, the company has plenty of time to battle Android and plan for those years.
By the Numbers
So, Apple will announce its Q1 numbers for 2012 in a few hours and we'll update the story then, with all eyes on iPhone and iPad sales to see if Apple can crack a US$ 40 billion quarter.
UPDATE: In fact, Apple managed to trounce any estimates, reeling off $46.33 billion in revenue, $13.06 billion in profit, selling 37 million iPhones and 15.4 million iPads. Apple also sold 5.2 million Macs, an increase of 26% on last year.
iPhone sales were the major stand out and accounted for 53% of revenue, Apple is now a smartphone company first, everything else second with over 60% of revenue coming from abroad. Apple now sits on a near $100 billion cash pile and investors will soon be demanding something be done with it. Word on the web is Apple should buy Greece - which would be neat! Slightly more realistically, it could start selling those mystical Apple TV sets at near cost and ream in the money on show/movie sales.
Word of Mouth
After the event, Tim Cook sent an email to employees congratulating them on their hard work and promising some exciting news at Wednesday's all company town-hall meeting. That might just be some time-frames for future products, but is unlikely to be anything dramatically newsworthy.
At the earnings call, Tim Cook described Kindle Fire and its like as "limited function" tablets, which is a bit of a low blow, and thinks people will still prefer the iPad. He also said they could have sold more iPhones if they could have made them. Apple did set lower guidance for the next quarter due to seasonality and other issues.
Post-game analysis shows Apple's growth rate as a business is accelerating. But, that is now going to be a tough trick to keep up (in the US at any rate where it is now represented at most carriers). Globally, however, Apple has lots of room to grow and many opportunities to exploit.
Finally, don't expect Apple to hit quite these numbers again, until perhaps this time next year. This quarter had an extra week it, had major product launches and intense demand. Of course, demand could be ever greater for iPad 3 and iPhone 5, so we'll see.