Apple Q1 2010: Mad Money and Macs

Earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2010 were insanely great with Apple selling a record number of Macs, and plenty of iPods and iPhones, too. Of course, part of that comes from adopting new accounting standards, but money is money no matter how you count it.

Apple reported revenue of $15.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of $3.38 billion, beating even the most optimistic of six-figure analysts, not to mention the Wall Street consensus. Apple CEO Steve Jobs focused on the meaning of the accounting change and teased us all via press release.

“If you annualize our quarterly revenue, it’s surprising that Apple is now a $50+ billion company,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we’re really excited about.”

I wonder what that could be? As for the non-investor who just likes Apple products, the holiday quarter was another record for Macs and iPhones, while iPods remain dominant in the market, if declining slightly in sales.

Astounding as it may seem, Apple sold more Macs last quarter than for the entire year a decade ago. Also of note is the ratio between laptops and desktops. Apple sold 2.128 million laptops and 1.234 million desktops last quarter, 63.3 and 36.7 percent, respectively. Apparently, the new iMac has at least temporarily reversed the decline of the desktop slightly.

With an eight percent decline year over year, clearly saturation point has been reached for iPods. Of course, that saturation point is 50 million iPods a year, so it could be worse. Also, it’s important to remember that some of those iPod sales are now iPhone sales.

An important shift in iPhone sales took place last quarter with iPhones breaking out of new-model cycle. Up until now, sales rose and fell more or less in relation to the launch of new iPhones, albeit at significantly higher sales levels after each cycle. Increased sales in Europe, and launches in Korea and China are likely a big part of this, so this quarter and next there may be a drop off in anticipation of the next generation device.

With the Apple event and an expected tablet in the immediate future, and a new, possibly Verizon, iPhone in the summer, it’s hard to imagine 2010 not superseding last year’s records. Expect analysts to futilely attempt to pry more information from Apple during the conference call, and TheAppleBlog to duly report the obfuscations.

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