Apple has reported its financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter of this year (which is the actual third quarter in the calendar – and that’s how we’ll refer to it from now on). These results are a mixed bag, since the numbers are mostly up (and by a lot) compared to the same quarter last year, but things are worse than they’ve been the previous quarter. Although there’s a big caveat there.
So let’s dig in. The company posted quarterly revenue of $28.27 billion and net profit of $6.62 billion. Compared to the year-ago results of $20.34 billion and $4.31 billion respectively, that’s a 38% bump in revenue and a 53% jump in net profit.
However, compared to the previous quarter (which would be Q2 in the calendar, but Apple’s fiscal Q3), things aren’t as bright. Revenue is down by 1%, and net profit is 10% lower.
It’s basically the same story when we look at iPhone sales numbers. Solid growth compared to last year, a slowdown compared to last quarter. Apple sold 17.07 million iPhones this quarter, which is 21% more than last year, but it’s also 19% less than last quarter.
iPads have been doing better. Apple sold 11.12 million of them this quarter, which is 166% more than last year, and 20% more than last quarter.
The iPod is slowly being replaced in people’s purchasing decisions by iPhones or iPads, that seems pretty clear. Apple sold 6.62 million iPods this quarter, which is 27% less than last year.
iOS units sold this quarter were approximately 31.5 million, according to Horace Dediu‘s estimates, which is almost 5% less than last quarter. That number is heavily influenced by the poor iPhone (and possibly iPod touch) sales, since, as mentioned before, iPad sales are basically growing like crazy quarter after quarter. In fact, Apple has sold 40 million iPads so far. Apple sees the tablet market becoming larger than the PC market in the future, and that’s certainly a possibility, though probably not a very near-term one.
Regarding the iPhone’s performance, it has to be said that during this quarter, almost everyone was anxiously waiting for the next iPhone. That didn’t come in the third quarter, so its sales aren’t included in these numbers. And naturally sales of the previous model started to decrease when the iPhone 4S announcement came near. And Apple says that the reduction in iPhone sales came near the end of the quarter, when speculation about the new model reached a new high.
However, because of this sluggish iPhone performance, an interesting thing may happen. Apple’s crown of being the No.1 smartphone manufacturer in the world will probably only last one quarter. Apple has held that crown last quarter, but in this one it’s almost sure to lose it to Samsung, unless the Korean company posts some seriously bad results (which it almost certainly won’t). Interesting is also the fact that even Nokia may once again be in front of Apple. All it takes for that to happen is the Finnish company selling 400,000 more smartphones than last quarter. And with its new device launches over the past few months, who knows, perhaps it’s going to surprise us.
As for the future, Apple naturally expects its next quarter (the fourth of 2011 in the calendar, but the company’s first 2012 quarter) to break records. That’s entirely possible, seeing as how the iPhone 4S has already broken a ‘sales in the first weekend‘ record. Add to that the fact that there will also be a holiday shopping frenzy, and over the holidays, gadgets have become very popular gifts, and this perspective starts to make sense. The company expects its revenue to be $37 billion in the next quarter, which would be 30% more than in this quarter.