Apple (s aapl) said this afternoon that it sold 7.4 million iPhones in its most recent fiscal quarter, 7 percent more than the same three-month period a year earlier and a whopping 43 percent more on a sequential basis. The numbers illustrate two key points: Mobile is indeed the future and reducing the base iPhone model to $99 is helping unit sales, in a big way.
Meanwhile, much to the chagrin of Microsoft (s msft) and its ecosystem of partners, Apple sold 3.05 million Mac computers, a 17 percent rise over its previous fiscal fourth quarter. That’s not too shabby for a premium computer line during down times.
More interesting than the past however, is the future. This quote from Steve Jobs ought to have all of the Apple rumor sites salivating:
“We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.”
The iPhone is historically on a summer refresh schedule, so it’s a safe bet that next summer sees an iPhone update, not to mention the inclusion of a camera in the iPod touch line at some point. But one of those “really great new products” could well be the larger tablet device that’s been bandied around in earnest this past year. Surely it’s not a netbook because Apple doesn’t see a way to make a quality device at low netbook prices. Then again, Apple is known to redefine developing product markets. Add in the trend that more non-phone devices are falling under the subsidy model and it’s easy to believe that 2010 might see another portable computing device from Cupertino in the $300-$500 range.
And of course, iPod sales continue their slow decline — Apple sold 10.2 million iPods in the most recent three-month period, down 8 percent from the same quarter a year earlier and 7 percent from its fiscal 2009 third quarter. Back in June of 2008, I read the handwriting on the wall by saying standalone music players were dying a slow, painful death due to the rise of smartphones.