Reporting results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2009, Apple shattered expectations with big profits boosted by the all-new lineup of MacBook Pros and the iPhone 3GS.
The company reported revenue of $8.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.23 billion, or $1.35 earnings per share (EPS). This beat consensus estimates of $8.2 billion of revenue and $1.17 EPS. For the same period last year, Apple earned $7.46 billion in revenue and $1.19 EPS. While this was good news, even better was Apple’s gross margin, 36.3 percent, compared to 34.8 percent last year. This is important because of concern that a down economy and price cuts on Macs might impact profits.
Not surprisingly, Steve Jobs was pleased. “We’re making our most innovative products ever and our customers are responding,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled to have sold over 5.2 million iPhones during the quarter and users have downloaded more than 1.5 billion applications from our App Store in its first year.”
While the financial news matters to investors and employees, consumers interested in Apple products should be pleased too. The Mac, the iPod, and the iPhone all sold well for the quarter, but after reports of market share loss, the Mac was the big surprise.
More than 2.603 million Macs were were sold in the quarter, an increase of four percent over last year, just short of the all-time record of 2.611 million sold during the holiday quarter of 2008. This is especially good news after the second quarter of this year, which saw a year-over-year decline of three percent. Of those Macs sold during the third quarter, laptops outsold desktops two to one, continuing a trend towards portability that has been ongoing for years. Apple does not break down sales by individual model, but it’s very likely the 13″ MacBook Pro had an impressive debut.
Regarding iPod sales, numbers were in line with expectations. 10.215 million iPods were sold in the third quarter, compared to 11.011 million for the same period last year. Again, this coincides with projections of flattening sales, though it should be noted that “flattening” means more than 50 million iPods sold yearly. Also, it’s a given that some consumers are choosing iPhones over iPods.
As for the iPhone, total sales were 5.208 million for the quarter, counting both iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G sales, the former on sale for only 11 days of the quarter. The earnings report in October, after the fourth fiscal quarter ends in September, will be the first full quarter for sales. Since the launch of the iPhone 3G was in July of last year, it seems unlikely the iPhone sales will break the record of nearly seven million units sold during Q408.
Analysts will likely be asking for iPhone projections during the conference call, as well as probing for information regarding the rumored tablet. While Apple executives will “not comment about future products,” there’s always something to be found in their obfuscation. Check back for a summary post later to find out the details.