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Apple (news, site) blew investors away with higher-than-anyone-expected iPhone and iPad sales but gave only a few vague hints about future plans.


Big Numbers Across the Board

As widely predicted earlier, Apple sold over 20 million iPhones and nine-and-a-quarter million iPads in its most recent quarter, according to figures released at the end of trading yesterday. The news sent Apple's stock price over the US$ 400 barrier and into unexplored territory.

With over 15 billion downloads and over 425,000 apps in the store (100,000 for iPad), digital downloads are also raking in massive numbers. Which will only get bigger as Mac software moves to the download model. The biggest number though is Apple's US$ 76 billion in cash. Which will lead to massive questions about what Apple plans to do with it, expect something massive from Apple eventually, be it an acquisition or some unheard of new product (perhaps Apple television sets?).

The Lion's Den

Apple will make OS X Lion available to download from the App Store today (Wednesday). The latest version of the operating system could be one reason why the only blot on Apple's sales numbers was with Macs coming in a little short of expectations, as users wait for the new OS.

Learning Opportunities

Among the chatter was word that iPad is cannibalizing PC sales (with an IDC estimate of iPad constituting 11% of the PC market), but not doing much damage to Mac sales. The iPhone is expected to do strongly in China with revenue from Asia up six times year on year and accelerating. There was no news on improvements to Apple TV which the company still considers a hobby product.

With that out, expect Mac sales to get back on trend with refreshes to the product line likely. In fact the Mac Air line-up has just been boosted with Sandy Bridge processors, Thunderbolt ports, cute backlit keyboards and other features. The Mac Mini has also had an upgrade, doubling its speed and now looking like a great home server.

Additionally, a new version of iTunes has just been released, bringing the app up to version 10.4. The only information on new iPhones and iPads was a 'product refresh' in the September quarter which makes the August launch rumors unlikely. All the rumors have been done to death, so we won't drag them up again.