Apple's fiscal Q4 2009 conference call is just about to begin, but the press release is already out and about. Wondering how Jobs and Company did? Precisely like you thought they would: they're making out like gangbusters over there. While the rest of the world slowly sees profits inching back up, Apple's relishing in $1.67 billion worth of net profit it pulled in from $9.87 billion in revenue. A year ago, the outfit managed to post a quarterly profit of "just" $1.14 billion, and we're also told that gross margin was up 36.6 percent. It should be noted that international sales accounted for a whopping 46 percent of this quarter's revenue, and Mac computer sales managed to shoot up some 17 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. In keeping with Apple's own acknowledgment that the standalone iPod is dying, sales of the iconic media player dipped 8 percent year-over-year (10.2 million units were sold), while 7.4 million iPhones were moved representing a 7 percent uptick from this period a year ago.

Stevie J himself is quoted as saying that Apple is "thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter," and in case you haven't noticed, the holiday quarter hasn't even been completed yet. Oh, and if you were looking for bread crumbs as for what's on deck, chew on this: "We've got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010." Great new products, you say? Would one of them happen to include some sort of, say, tablet PC?

Catch our updates after the break...
Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO, just hopped on the line, and he's obviously thrilled with the "record-breaking" quarter, and judging by after-hours stock movement, we'd say Wall Street concurs. Speaking on Mac sales, this quarter's sales broke the prior quarterly record by over 400,000 machines, with portable sales growing some 35 percent and representing 74 percent of all Macs moved. He also informed us of a 42 percent uptick (year-over-year) in Asia-Pacific, not to mention a 12 percent increase in US education Mac sales (which marked the highest ever in this category).

Speaking on the iPod topic, he noted that 50 percent of all buyers are snagging their first iPod, and iPod touch sales are up an astounding 100 percent as it rides the wave of popularity that is the App Store. Peter also commented that Apple's share of the MP3 player remains at around 70 percent, and the 7.4 million iPhones sold represented a company record for the quarter. iPhone sell-through was pegged at 38 percent, and he noted that iPhone sales would begin in China "later this month." Confirming news we already knew, he said that carrier relationships would expand in "the UK and Canada," and he said hopes were high to get the handset to South Korea in the near future.

Moving on, he stated that Apple's retail stores also had a record quarter (noticing a trend?), with about half of all Mac buyers in stores being first-time Mac owners. For the entire year, Apple recorded 12 percent growth in revenue and 18 percent growth in net income, all during what most would say was the worst recession since bread was sold in unsliced fashion.

Mr. Oppenheimer just opened the floor to questions... and most everything is pretty low-key (read: uninteresting). He's explaining that demand for the iPhone has led to low stock in quite a few markets, and he's calling this quarter a "blowout" one for Mac portables. We're told that Snow Leopard upgrades have basically "doubled" compared to the amount of folks that upgraded to Leopard during the same five-week-after-launch period, though box shipments are expected to slow as the amount of loyalists living without 10.6 dwindles. When questioned about the benefits (for Apple) of having exclusive iPhone relationships, Tim Cook (COO) noted that you can "generally have a level of innovation" that you can't have with a multi-carrier arrangement. Also, he mentioned that an "exclusive carrier may be willing to invest more," though Apple has "found no lack of companies wanting to sell iPhones."

And that's it! Sadly, none of those with a spot to ask a question bothered to really press Apple about the "new products" quote, though we have to say all that talk about channel inventory and corporate adoption rates was downright thrilling. Still, when Steve comes out and makes a mention like that, you know he means business. Or, at least we hope so.

0 Comments

Apple reports fiscal Q4 earnings: $1.67b profit, Mac sales way up, iPod sales down, 'great new products' for 2010