Apple’s third-generation iPad was introduced back in March. Image: Ariel Zambelich/Wired
There’s no slowing down the Apple freight train. Despite missing revenue estimates by $2.2 billion this quarter, 2012 is continuing to evolve as a blockbuster year for Apple, with record-breaking iPad sales. The icing on the cake for Apple fanatics? Apple announced it will launch OS X Mountain Lion on Wednesday, July 25.
“We could not be more confident in our product pipeline,” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said in the earnings call.
Apple garnered $35 billion in revenue for a quarterly net profit of $8.8 billion. Nonetheless, even $35 billion in revenue is a bit of a disappointment when Wall Street estimates projected $37.2 billion in revenue. While gadget hounds shrugged off the rare Apple earnings miss, investors weren’t so charitable: Apple’s stock fell about $31, or about 5 percent, in after-hours trading immediately following the announcement.
The iPad continued its record-breaking streak, as Apple sold 17 million iPads during the quarter that ended June 30 — an 84 percent unit increase over this period a year ago, and an all-time quarterly record for iPad unit sales. Last quarter was also the best quarter ever for education-related iPad sales: Apple sold nearly twice as many iPads as Macs to U.S. educational institutions.
And Apple apparently isn’t threatened by the Kindle Fire, Galaxy Tab, or any other competing tablet that’s been released thus far. “We’ve all seen many different tablets, hundreds of them come to market over the last year,” CEO Tim Cook said. “I have yet to see any of them really gain any level of traction at all.”
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, China, one of Apple’s biggest markets, didn’t factor into iPad sales numbers. Apple’s latest tablet went on sale in China only last Friday.
Apple saw slower momentum in iPhone sales, with 26 million iPhones sold, a drop from the 35 million sold the previous quarter and 37 million sold in the holiday quarter. Lethargy in iPhone sales was entirely expected, as the current flagship iPhone, the 4S, has been on the market for nine months, and anticipation for Apple’s next-generation iPhone is skyrocketing.
“I think there’s a lot of speculation out there,” Cook said. “It’s difficult to sort out, but I’m fairly convinced based on what I’ve seen that there’s incredible anticipation out there for future products.”
The iPhone is now available on 250 carriers in over 100 countries worldwide. “Our role is to make the very best smartphone in the world,” Cook said. “The best thing for Apple by far is to continue making the best products in the world. And we’re maniacally focused on that.”
As for the App Store, it’s now home to more than 650,000 apps (225,000 dedicated to the iPad) and Apple has paid out $5.5 billion to iOS developers.
In the Mac department, sales picked up very slightly, with 4 million Macs sold. That’s a 2 percent increase over that same period in 2011. The MacBook Pro with Retina display, along with revamped MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs that were introduced back in June, contributed to this boost in notebook sales. However, Apple ended the quarter with a back log of orders for the Retina display MacBook Pro, and this shortage won’t be resolved until August.
“It’s clear the PC market is weak, but frankly we believe the primary factor for our lower growth rate in the Mac area is the timing of our portable announcement within last quarter,” Cook said. The third-generation iPad, and a lower-priced iPad 2, were released toward the end of Apple’s second quarter this year. Apple has said in the past it has no problem cannibalizing its own products.
iPods continued their slow descent into irrelevance, selling a mere 6.8 million units. That’s a 10 percent decline over the same period last year. Apple totaled 410 million cumulative iOS device sales this year, 45 million in the June quarter alone.
The Apple TV continues to be a “hobby product,” achieving 1.3 million in sales this quarter, bringing the fiscal year numbers to 4 million. “We’ll continue to pull the string to see where it takes us,” Cook said. “We’re not one to keep around products we don’t believe in. But we have a lot of believers in Apple TV so we continue to invest in it.”