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Apple Q4 2010: Record Quarter/Year, Surprises to Come

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For the fourth fiscal quarter, Apple (s aapl) reported revenue of $20.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 earnings per share. Once again, the company has broken a record set just the prior quarter, surpassing the previous record of $15.7 billion for third quarter 2010, and more than doubling the $9.87 billion earned for the year-ago quarter.

“We’re blown away to report over $20 billion in revenue and over $4 billion in after-tax earnings — both all-time records for Apple,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone sales of 14.1 million were up 91 percent year-over-year, handily beating the 12.1 million phones (s rimm) RIM sold in their most recent quarter. We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of this calendar year.”

For those owning Apple kit instead of stock, your investment in the platform has never been safer, with record sales of Macs, iPhones and iPads. The iPad, with 4.19 million sold so far, has now definitely sold more than the combined sales of all Windows (s msft) tablet and slate PCs for the entire year, and while the iPad appears to be negatively impacting netbook sales, it doesn’t appear to be cannibalizing the Mac.

Apple sold a record 3.89 million Macs in the fourth quarter, up 27 percent from 3.053 million a year ago, and more than double the seven million sold just three years ago. For FY 2010, Apple sold 13.66 million Macs, besting the sales record of 10.4 million last year.

Once again, notebook sales continue to outperform desktop sales by a wide margin. For Q4, Apple sold 2.64 million laptops and 1.24 million desktops. Expect this trend towards portability to accelerate with Apple introducing a new 11.6-inch laptop this Wednesday. Clearly, the trend is towards mobility. Could we be without an Apple consumer desktop, by say, 2015 or 2020?

Speaking of trends, if there’s any bad news in this report it’s for the iPod. Apple sold 9.05 million iPods in the fourth quarter, down from 10.2 million year over year, a drop of 11 percent. For FY 2010, Apple sold 50.31 million iPods, compared to just over 54 million sold in 2009 and 2008, and 2010 better compares to 2007, when Apple sold 51.5 million iPods.

As for fourth quarter 2010, it appears the new nano and shuffle introduced in September were not the kind of breakout hits that might have reversed the downward trend. Revenue from the higher-priced iPod touch was apparently not enough to lift overall iPod revenue. It’s possible the iPad is cannibalizing iPod sales instead of affecting the Mac’s performance.

The iPhone is clearly the iOS flagship. Fourth quarter 2010 was the best quarter ever for the iPhone, thanks to the iPhone 4. Despite being supply constrained for months, Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones, a new all-time record, and up a shocking 91 percent year-over-year. For fiscal year 2010, Apple sold just under 40 million iPhones, compared to 20.76 million in 2009. With shipping time down to 3-5 days in the U.S., supply and demand have at last reached equilibrium. No white iPhone in sight, but maybe that’s one of the surprises hinted at by Jobs.

Finally, there’s the iPad. Apple sold 4.19 million iPads in the fourth quarter, compared to 3.27 million in the third quarter, for a total of 7.46 million units in fiscal year 2010.

To put those sales in a business perspective, the iPad revenue has already surpassed the iPod, which sold approximately 10 million units and has been around for years, compared to just six months for the iPad. If this trend continues, it’s very likely that 2011 will see the iPad pass the Mac in terms of revenue.

Expect more information on the Apple numbers and products following the conference call. TheAppleBlog is listening, so you don’t have to.

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6 Responses to “Apple Q4 2010: Record Quarter/Year, Surprises to Come”

  1. It’s really quite astounding. How times have changed from the dark days of the past.

    I suspect it is actually the iPhone that is cannibalizing the iPod. Once you have the iPhone, you really have all the ipod functionality already, no?