Apple Q1 2011: Apple Wins Christmas

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For the holiday quarter, Apple reported revenue of $26.74 billion and a net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 earnings per share, breaking the most recent record of $15.7 billion earned the previous quarter. Apple’s revenue surged past Wall Street estimates of $24 billion, and for the third year in a row, revenue has risen $5 billion or more during the first fiscal quarter. Although Steve Jobs is currently on a leave of absence, the obligatory press release quoted the CEO:

We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales. We are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.

The resurgent Mac also set a new sales record: 4.13 million units, breaking last quarter’s record of 3.9 million, and more than 750,000 Macs than the company sold a year ago. To put that number into even greater perspective, Apple sold 4.5 million Macs during all of 2005. Nine months after the launch of the iPad, it appears concerns of Mac cannibalization are groundless, though concern for desktop Macs might be warranted.

In 2010, two out of three Macs sold were laptops. For the first quarter of this fiscal year, Mac laptops represented 70 percent of sales. Mac desktop sales were actually down year-over-year, from 1.23 million to 1.28 million, while laptops surged to 2.9 million during the holiday quarter. While Apple doesn’t break out sales by individual model, the new MacBook Air appears to be having an impact. Apple has indeed become the “mobile devices company” Steve Jobs described last January during the iPad introduction, and the iPod remains the best-selling of Apple’s mobile devices.

Apple sold 19.4 million iPods in the first quarter, compared to nearly 21 million last year, a decrease of 7 percent. For the last four years, Apple has regularly sold between 20 and 25 million iPods during the holidays, indicating the iPod may have reached market saturation. Revenue, which had been increasing despite decreasing sales, is now flat, up just 1 percent. While Apple also doesn’t break out iPods by model, it’s been thought that increasing sales of the higher-priced iPod touch were offsetting an overall iPod sales decline. The change in revenue may indicate that the combination of the iPhone and the iPad are negatively impacting iPod touch sales.

As for the iPhone, after selling 14.1 million units during the first full quarter of iPhone 4 availability (July through September), Apple sold 16.2 million iPhones during the holidays. That’s up an astonishing 86 percent year-over-year, and since 2008, iPhone sales have approximately doubled during each subsequent year’s first quarter. The iPhone earned nearly $10.5 billion for Apple, some 40 percent of all revenue.

Looking forward to next quarter, it’s hard to imagine Apple beating sales for the last two quarters, especially since the next iPhone isn’t expected to arrive until June or July. However, Apple will have the Verizon iPhone, and could finally manage to ship the white iPhone, so another record quarter is possible.

Another sequential record quarter is a little harder to imagine for the iPad. Launched just over nine months ago, the iPad sold 7.33 million units during the holiday quarter, up from 4.19 million the previous quarter. It appears the iPad, like the iPod, has great seasonal cache as a Christmas present. That makes one wonder if the yearly launch may at some point be moved from spring to fall, when new iPods are traditionally unveiled.

That question may come up during Apple’s conference call today, along with the expected queries about Steve Jobs and his medical leave of absence. As always, TheAppleBlog will have highlights and commentary immediately following the call.

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