Apple Conference Call: The Non-Boring Stuff

Apple’s excruciatingly boring conference call for the third fiscal quarter has come and gone, but if you didn’t listen, or couldn’t stay awake, here are the top 10 items of interest (to me).

1) Apple’s Fab Four: Revenue Breakdown by Major Product

Sure, the iTunes Store earned over a billion dollars, and other hardware and software accounted for about $2 billion this quarter, but so what? That’s what the iPad earned in its debut quarter, or about one out of every seven revenue dollars. The “three-legged” revenue stool just became a four-legged comfy chair.

2) Not surprisingly, Apple announced the hundredth million iOS device (iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch) was sold sometime in June. RIM announced the same thing for BlackBerry OS in June, but what’s interesting is that RIM has been selling the BlackBerry since 2002. The first iOS device, the iPhone, went on sale in June 2007.

3) A new record was set for revenue, but not the $15.7 billion Apple earned for the June quarter, though a record it was. This Thursday, Microsoft is expected to report earnings of $15.27 billion. Can you hear the chairs whizzing through air in Steve Ballmer’s office?

4) A new record was set for Mac sales, some 3.472 million Macs sold during the June quarter, up 33 percent year-over-year. The Mac not only out-paced the growth rate for PCs, around 20 percent, but saw insane growth in Europe, 46 percent, and even more insane growth in Asia, 71 percent.

5) “Antennagate” came up once directly, and once tangentially. First, iPhone 4 returns continue to be “less than the iPhone 3GS,” and for that “specific issue” they are “extremely small.” Second, Apple is projecting a $175 million “free bumper” deferral to revenue for the holiday quarter.

6) Apple execs continue to ignore and obfuscate regarding the threat of Android, saying only that the iPhone is “growing substantially faster than the market.” Well, Google is allegedly activating 160,000 Android phones a day, and growing substantially faster than the iPhone, around 93,000 a day over the last quarter.

7) Speaking of that iPhone growth issue, once again, when asked about exclusivity and AT&T, Apple execs said, “we won’t get into what we will or won’t do, but we’re very happy to be with AT&T.” I swear I heard teeth grinding.

8) More than 60 million people visited 293 Apple Stores last quarter, spending $2.68 billion. They purchased, among other Apple things, some 677,000 Macs. That’s about one out of five Macs sold, and “about half” of the buyers had never previously owned a Mac.

9) Apple now has $45.8 billion in cash, enough to pay for the Olympics in Beijing, bailout Greece, buy Warren Buffet, or every Apple fan’s dream, Nintendo.

10) On the issue of the iPad cannibalizing the Mac, it was suggested instead that a kind of “synergy” could happen. Looking at the iPod, it was “felt the iPod created a halo for the Mac,” as “iPod volumes took off, you see a dramatic change in Mac sales back in time.” And people thought Apple forcing the iPad to be tethered to a computer was a mistake.

And just in case the iPad does cannibalize Mac sales,”it’s great to have a lower share.” Seriously, that’s what was said in response to another question about the iPad and Mac sales. “If the iPad cannibalizes PCs, then that’s fantastic for us, because there’s a lot of PCs to cannibalize.”

Who knew Apple losing the PC wars could have been so fortuitous.

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