Apple (AAPL) blew through analyst estimates, set record sales numbers for the quarter for Macs, and sold so many iPhone 3Gs units that factories on overdrive couldn't keep up. In short, Apple had another amazing quarter that sent investors doing cartwheels, buying up shares and sending Apple stock up five percent in after-hours trading (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/07/21results.html).

There was very little hint of any economic slow down in the news from One Infinite Loop. Not only was the present quarter stellar but future signs point to continued rapid growth of the Apple Nation. Most impressive of all -- Apple simply could not make enough of the new iPhone 3Gs handsets to keep up with demand. Oppenheimer said Apple would soon take care of the problem, which seems to be the only one Apple has right now.

Company CFO Peter Oppenheimer reeled off number after impressive number during his investor presentation. Among them:

  • Revenues of $8.3 billion, handily spanking consensus estimates of $7.9 billion and even besting most whisper numbers
  • Rock solid gross margins of 36.5 percent, illustrating that Apple can still expand its margin growth while other PC makers languish in the low and mid-teens for gross margins
  • A new quarterly record for Mac computer sales spurred by a 13 percent growth in sales of MacBook and MacBook Pro lines that had been recently refreshed and repriced lower to stoke demand
  • 5.2 million iPhone handsets sold in the quarter, beating estimate there, as well
  • Recognized revenue from the iPhone of $1.69 billion, an increase of greater than 300 percent over the same period last year
There were also some surprising numbers that were not as tied to financial performance but equally important to Apple's future.
  • Apple continues to gain market share in the music player market (iPod, iPod Touch and iPhone) that have been the traditional gateway for new Mac computer buyers to drink the Kool-Aid. Oppenheimer noted that Apple gained share in every major imarket as well as in the U.S., where the company already owns an overwhelming percentage of music player sales
  • While sales of traditional music players (without wireless connectivity -- Shuffle, Nano, iPod) fell by 800,000 over the same period last year to 10.2 million, Oppenheimer said that 50% of purchasers had never bought an iPod Apple product before, a great omen for future impacts of the Apple Halo Effect.
  • While revenue in Apple retail stores declined slightly, foot traffic to the white-walled technopalaces soared by a surprising 22 percent from 31.7 million visitors to 38.6 million visitors. Talk about enhanced exposure.
  • According to Oppenheimer, roughly 50 percent of Mac computers sold in the stores during the quarter were sold to customers who had never purchased a Mac before. That's more evidence of the Halo Effect.
  • Sales of the iPod Touch soared by 130 percent, clear validation of the concept of a handheld application device that can use wireless connectivity and download applications from the App store.
  • Apple component costs did go up but not as much as expected, said Oppenheimer. This allowed Apple to maintain higher gross margins.
These earnings put to bed, at least for a quarter, any controversy over whether Apple would be seriously impacted by the global PC slowdown. And Apple's numbers put survey results from tech giant IDC into serious question, as those numbers had tallied a shrinkage in Mac shipments. The upshot of all these numbers? With more quarters like this, Apple looks a lot more like a $200 stock and the company to beat in both the PC and handset arenas in terms of profitability. Oh, and Steve Jobs is back full time. Take that!

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