7 Key Numbers You Need to Know About Apple

7 Numbers You Need to Know About Apple Apple (AAPL) finds itself in an unfamiliar place this week. The iEverything giant posted quarterly results on Tuesday night that missed Wall Street's expectations. This hasn't happened in years.

Revenue and earnings grew by 39% and 54% respectively over the past year, but the news isn't so hot on a sequential basis. Revenue for the fiscal quarter slipped compared to the third quarter.

While the iPhone 4S delay was the key culprit, the real story is in seven key numbers that Apple investors should keep in mind as they assess the world's most valuable tech company's financial performance.

16: This is how many months consumers had to wait between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S introductions. This matters because prospective buyers tend to hold back when they know that a new iPhone is coming. The iPhone 4 was introduced on June 24, 2010, giving buyers during the months of July, August, and September last year peace of mind that they were buying the hottest new iPhone. That certainly wasn't the case this time around.

• 2002: That's how far back you have to go to find the last time that Apple didn't beat Wall Street's profit targets. A miss is still a miss, but most people would expect Apple to get back to its analyst-thumping ways starting with the current quarter.

• 4 million:
Apple sold 4 million iPhone 4S smartphones this past weekend. Yes, it's a new record. And, yes, it is going to be accounted for in the current quarter -- the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Yes, you should keep this number in mind as we get to the next one.

• 17.07 million: This is how many iPhones Apple sold during its latest quarter. We already went over the reasons why folks weren't interested in buying the Apple 4 handset, yet it was still a 21% year-over-year improvement compared to when it was brand new. More importantly, you do realize that Apple sold nearly a quarter as many iPhones this past weekend as it sold during all of the three previous months?

• 11.12 million: There were no tricky comparables with the iPad from one year to the next, though the iPad 2 still rolled out earlier this time around. Apple sold 11.12 million iPads this past quarter, 166% more than it did a year earlier.

• 4.89 million: Apple's growth in recent quarters has been so dominated by the growth of its iPad and iPhone lines that we forget that Apple still makes and sells premium computers at much higher price points than other brands. Apple sold 4.89 million Macs during the period, 26% ahead of last year's pace. Yes, Mac growth outpaced iPhone growth. Take a picture, because it won't repeat anytime soon.

• 81.6 billion: Add up Apple's cash, short-term securities, and long-term investments and you have a company with $81.6 billion in cash. Value investors may clamor for a dividend or aggressive share buyback. Growth investors will cheer on needle-moving acquisitions. Economists will argue that Apple should reinvest that money in job creation and growth. In the end, it's Apple's money -- and it's a lot of money.

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position in Apple.

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Ed Clark

"In the end it is Apple's money."

I beg to differ. It is an asset and an unproductive one at that. Shareholders are the owners.
Apple is now under heavy pressure to reward shareholders which it can do and still have
an enormous cash supply left for strategic interests. Institutions hold 70 % of the shares in AAPL
so don't ever doubt that they could bring pressure to share some of the wealth.

October 24 2011 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

#8 Think Netflix?

October 21 2011 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When you look at Apple, think Netflix.

October 20 2011 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's a real shame we consumers reward companies and their blatant "See ya next year" approach. Worse yet, we reward Apple with their 'you don't need that' approach. First iPhone launched at $600, with a crap camera, no MMS, and no copy and paste. And people tripped over themselves to get one. Seems like every 'top of the line' iPhone has something missing from it, that other phones have had for years. Yet Apple has people's mindshare, in spades. And it seems Apple has led the way in yearly releases of products, that are obviously planned years in advance. They know well ahead of schedule not what they're going to release, but what they're going to hold back. "Oh, let's hold off on this feature until the second gen. And this feature until the third, etc. etc." Again, we consumers reward them for these antics. It's a shame. Took what, 4 years to get multitasking? Five to get a system in place that would hold notifications in any sort of useable way?

October 20 2011 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who cares what the so called "analysts" say. It is what the company says it is going to do. Apple's plan is to have inventive technology that everyone wants ... and wants now. This will be the "now" quarter.

October 20 2011 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Weimar

Hindsight is a great thing. It is entirely reasonable to have a drop off in iPhone sales in September, especially considering that the iPhone 4 was a 15 month old product. I find it remarkable that Apple still sold 17 million in the quarter despite the fact that everyone knew a new phone was coming in September or October. Mac sales were extremely strong, iPad about as expected, and iPod down significantly, but also expected. As a shareholder I was a bit disappointed simply because I was hoping for better. Upon reflection I am satisfied with the results. Apples Q1 forecast is very impressive and they wil probably have a nice beat and exceed $10 per share. With additional carriers launching next year, especially in China, more retail stores and expanding markets, Apple will shine in 2012. iPad3 and iPhone5 will likely be impressive and perhaps we'll see "one more thing." I think $550 per share is a very solid estimate. I am hoping for a 4 or 5 to 1 split and believe that would immediately expand the price/earnings multiple back to the 17-20 range where it should be. If that were to happen the value could shoot to $700 or so on a pre-split basis.

October 19 2011 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wall Street "analysts" consistently" miss on Apple's numbers. While they were high this time, they are usually low. Is it possible that the analysts are the ones who should be penalized (as opposed to Apple's shareholders) when their estimates miss?

October 19 2011 at 5:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply