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July 22, 2009

What Apple's record earnings mean

Posted: 09:31 AM ET

Apple reported record earnings on Tuesday. But what does that mean?

The BBC says the software company has a good problem: It can't make new iPhones fast enough.

"We are currently unable to make enough iPhone 3GSs to meet robust demand, and we're working to address this," said Apple's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer in a conference call about quarterly earnings, the news site says.

What's more, Apple plans to release the popular new iPhone - which has a video camera and is touted as faster than its two predecessors - in 20 new countries in August. The phone is expected to be sold in a total of 70 countries by the end of the year.

TechCrunch has a different take. The blog says the report is an indicator that the basic iPod - once Apple's flagship mobile device - is effectively dead.

It's been replaced with the iPod Touch, which looks more like the red-hot iPhone and accesses the Internet with Wi-Fi, which old-school iPods don't. The blog does some math to determine that old iPods are sinking otherwise stellar numbers for Apple's mobile devices, or "pocket products":

Of the three pocket products, two saw huge year-over-year growth this quarter, one did not. While iPhone sales grew a massive 626% year-over-year, iPod touch sales actually grew just about 130% too. And while Apple may consider the iPod touch outside of the iPod line, for financial purposes, it’s still counted with them. So when you hear that overall the iPod family saw a 7% decline year over year, you know that the actual iPod numbers minus the iPod touch, must not be very good at all.

And while Apple wouldn’t specifically give those numbers, Oppenheimer did note that the iPhone and iPod Touch are very much “cannibalizing” the stand-alone MP3 iPod market.

Here are some highlights from the report, compiled by Fortune, a CNN.com content partner:

  • Mac sales: 2.6 million units, up 4% year over year
  • iPhone sales: 5.24 million units, up 626%
  • iPod sales: 10.2 million units, down 7%
  • Gross margin: 36.3%, up from 34.8% last year
  • Cash holdings: $31.1 billion, up $2.2 billion for the quarter.
  • Guidance for the September quarter: revenue between $8.7 and $8.9 billion, EPS between $1.18 and $1.23, and gross margins of 34% — considerably higher than expected.

What do you make of the numbers? Are you among the iPhone converts? Feel free to chime in with comments.

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Filed under: Apple • iPhone • iPod


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Jim Smith   July 22nd, 2009 10:31 am ET

What many seem to ignore is that the 2.6 million mac sold, make Apple one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world.

Perhaps this is a sign that people are becoming increasingly tired of the Microsoft series of disasters the call software?

Personally, I will never have another piece of MS software on my system. I like the dependability, low cost, and ease of use of all the programs on my iMac. I used a Mac and PC side-by side for years and I feel that anyone using a PC when they could have a Mac just doesn't know anything about computers.


Rafael Quinones   July 22nd, 2009 10:31 am ET

Apple's numbers show me a few things...
1. Apple simply offers far superior products than the competition; that it's cost per laptop, MP3 player, smartphone and services are more expensive than the competition and people are still faling over each other for it all speaks volumes.
2. As much of a Steve Job fan that I am, Apple has proven than as far as sales go, they don't Steve...though I wouldn't bury him, yet! Apple is benefitting from his vision still, today.
3. If this was 'Star Wars', The 'Revolution' has destroyed the Death Star, but the Dark Side (Microsoft) isn't dead...they're just going to regroup and counter attack. Enjoy your victory Apple, and may the 'Force' continue to be with you! Corny, I know...but there's truth in it.


Jeff Morrison   July 22nd, 2009 10:52 am ET

With more people switching to the Mac platform every day, I think this just continues to illustrate that people are looking past the price tag and seeking quality over quantity. Apple has said time and time again that they don't want to make the most computers, they want to make the best computers. Lower cost of ownership and higher resell value says it's working.


Lili   July 22nd, 2009 12:11 pm ET

Another thing to think about with iPod numbers going down is that everyone already has one...


Tim Steele   July 22nd, 2009 12:12 pm ET

Microsoft may know about computers but they know nothing about personal computing! Apple knows how to leverage the wants and needs of the consumer, and does an excellent job of incorporating that knowledge into the company's products.


Larry Farrell in Kent, WA   July 22nd, 2009 1:10 pm ET

I would not put too much faith in Apple's latest earnings report. There have been numerous fires reported with iPod devices of all types with lithium-ion batteries, some resulting in injury to people and property. A Seattle-based TV station, KIRO, and their Investigative Reporter, Amy Clancy, have a series of stories on the subject and have posted an FOIA document request results online. Apple has been downplaying these incidents, and has fought tooth and nail to keep these incidents private. Consumers are told that nothing of the sort has happened before. Seems like Apple Corporation is behaving like Ford Motor Company with their exploding Pinto! Check it out for yourself: http://www.kirotv.com/money/20089894/detail.html


brett   July 22nd, 2009 3:31 pm ET

I'm a doctor and I still cant see how I can justify the price of the data plans for the i-phone. I am waiting for the next generation of the i-pod touch.

Please don't write off the "plain" ipods. i would never run or exercise with one of the heavy touch or i-phones. nanos and shuffles are great for athletics

and, for a 4 yr old, having an entire library of movies on an i-pod classic (which don't fit on a touch....yet) make car trips a lot easier.


Matt   July 22nd, 2009 4:06 pm ET

Apple has nailed the consumer market with sexy, "must have" devices. But Microsoft still owns the corporate office environment, and enterprise application development. The battleground is the consumer, and Microsoft will use it's profits from corporate office to fund its attacks, next being brick-and-mortar stores designed by the same person who did the Apple stores.


Scott   July 22nd, 2009 4:45 pm ET

I don't think the iPod is necessarily dead with all users, but the majority are trending to the iPhone and the Touch. It all depends on your use of the products.

I have an iPod video, which does not see much action anymore, especially since upgrading from the original 8 gb iPhone to the 16 gb 3GS. I mainly use iPod for times that I don't want to take my iPhone out into adverse conditions, kayaking, off-roading in an open top Jeep, cycling in the rain, etc. I also happen to have a waterproof/crush proof case for the iPod, which would be impractical for the iPhone.

Even since upgrading to the 3GS, I have used the iPod less and less. It still serves as a vault for all my music, movies, and pics, that I can take along with me. With the double space of the 3GS vs. my original iPhone though, I can carry a lot more, without the need for the vault. Also, the increased screen size makes the iPhone/Touch more attractive for viewing movies on the go.

As Apple brings out more capable products, with larger memory, iPods will continue to lose ground in sales. It is just the shift from one product line as the flag ship, to another. Think of it as the change from 8 track, to cassettes, to CD's, to MP3's. There will still be a niche market for the iPod, just not mainstream.


Mike   July 22nd, 2009 5:07 pm ET

Every time a long time PC user I know gets a Mac they spend the next few weeks asking why I didn't make them change sooner and keep adding how much the 'LOVE their Mac' ... I guess it's safe to say 'Once you go Mac, you never go back!'🙂


Steven Cravis   July 22nd, 2009 5:16 pm ET

If you think this iPhone sales growth is good, watch when the iPhone becomes free of an AT&T-only contract!

I would love to see a higher capacity iPod Touch, or price reduction in the existing ones.

What happened to the iPad or iTablet??? I thought we would see that by now(?)


James   July 22nd, 2009 6:43 pm ET

Everybody knew iPods, and MP3 players as whole, were creeping upon the point of complete market saturation. Apple seems to have been a little more forward-thinking with its iPod Touch; not many MP3 players are web and wifi enabled, which epitomizes how Apple changes the dynamics and expectations of certain markets and then dominates them.

As for the iPhone, obviously had something do with the new iPhone's release.

Mac, I don't know where to begin. Tech sites critize Apple for being a closed company (build their own hardware, software, support, stores, etc) and always want Apple to replicate what a PC can do. For everyday non-IT people, Apple is perfect. I don't know how to install RAM, or do anything too fancy on a computer...but I don't want to, as most people don't. We want a computer that does what we want when we want it to, has intuative and easy to use applications, a computer that offers stability, and won't break down and crash.

I bought my first iMac 2 years ago, I bought my first Apple laptop 7 months ago, and I'm buying an iPod Touch for my car this summer. I've come to love and trust Apple products, regardless of the loon running Apple.


Brian Fraiser   July 22nd, 2009 7:48 pm ET

"Perhaps this is a sign that people are becoming increasingly tired of the Microsoft series of disasters the call software?"

Nice rants by Fanboys but the IDC shows Apple ( albeit) increasing in salves losing market share of PC market. from Thursday, July 16th.

Also gross margin: 36.3%, up from 34.8% last year only shows that Apple continues to be the one milking the most out of its consumers far more than any other PC maker.

The love is real... real strong, and extremely dillusional for those that are writing comments above.

Usually people are smart enough to read the numbers... usually.


Eric   July 22nd, 2009 9:56 pm ET

I switched to an iMac and wished I did it earlier. The OS seems like its 5 years ahead of the PC. It's a beautiful operating system.


Nijel Quadri   July 23rd, 2009 3:58 am ET

"ice rants by Fanboys but the IDC shows Apple ( albeit) increasing in salves losing market share of PC market. from Thursday, July 16th.

Also gross margin: 36.3%, up from 34.8% last year only shows that Apple continues to be the one milking the most out of its consumers far more than any other PC maker.

The love is real… real strong, and extremely dillusional for those that are writing comments above.

Usually people are smart enough to read the numbers… usually."

the loss of market share is probably from the netbook market, which have abysmal profit margins. i don't see how it's that relevant to Apple when if anything those netbooks (an industry apple has no interest in) are cannibalizing on higher profit-margin notebooks!

and it's pretty to see you criticize their gross margin increase as "milking the consumer". Perhaps you have a positive explanation for Microsoft's falling stock?

The goal of a company is to make money. Apple makes huge profit margins by making good products that consumers love, and that's a great thing for their shareholders. I'm not being a "fanboy" saying that, I'm just telling it how it is.


Reality   July 23rd, 2009 9:29 am ET

"What many seem to ignore is that the 2.6 million mac sold, make Apple one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world"

2.6 million mac computers sold may seem like an astounding number, but when PC sales triple that number per quarter (close to 300 million per year) there really is very little competition for the Windows OS.

Apple isn't a company that can truly compete with Microsoft, I am convinced Microsoft broadens its horizons just to give apple some a hard time. Zune is nothing more than a competitive stunt. Xbox sales alone out compete ipods, and PCs outsell Macs 100 to 1. When Microsoft is actually threatened by apple is a day we won't see in our lifetime.


John Scott   July 23rd, 2009 9:54 am ET

Apple is now considered a player in the computer market. But hardly a huge player consider their 2.6 million sales to Dell and HP's tens of millions sales. They still are only a single digit when it comes to percentage. I know Apple's fans want to believe different and it does show some gain in market share all be it at a snails pace. Apple's achiles heal is the fact it needs to allow OS X on more computer's!
Microsoft became successful because of this and you cannot significantly increase marketshare without offering more of a price range for computers. Not everyone wants or needs a $1200 computer.
You can buy a Dell for less then $500. Sure we can all say its not as good as a Apple product. But its probably good enough for many.
The iPod probably has simply reached market saturation. Only so many want a MP3 player. Music has died off and other media is available elsewhere. Too much competition in this area. The iPhone is obviously a big player and can hold its own. Bottom line for me is Apple has slowed in computer sales with a bad economy, iPods have saturated the market and the iPhone is the only thing really gaining ground.


Sarah   July 23rd, 2009 10:08 am ET

Wow, the fanboyism is pretty amazing.

I'm on the fence and am watching both Microsoft and Apple, but if you ask me, Apple gets a lot of its power not from its "awesome" product abilities, but from the fact that it has absolutely incredible marketing. Here you not only have a product that is "shiny" in every form of its display (how can you not be curious about a company that has beautiful, pristine stores and its own display sections??), but its price-tag and the fact that its fostered its own fan-community makes it elitist - which fuels its own fire, since everyone wants what they are convinced is "the best."

The iPhone is incredible. I'll give them that. But it still has its problems, and its still taking you for a ride by jacking up the price of its data services.

The computers? Downright silly. Sorry, Mac fans, but I can build a monster machine with three times the power of your Mac that will run almost any piece of software for only a third of the price. Not only that, I can replace and upgrade it for pennies, making it almost future-proof. Software development is also much easier (IMHO) on a Windows machine, thanks to Microsoft's tendency to provide so many of their development tools for free.

In the end... use linux if you want a server, a Mac if you're a video-editing buff (which it is admittedly good for) or are easily bedazzled by a shiny design, or a PC if you want an affordable workhorse.


Conservative Independent   July 23rd, 2009 12:18 pm ET

Bought my first MAC 6 years ago and am still using it. I'd rather keep it until I can save more for a new one than to go out and buy a brand new cheaper PC. You get what you pay for....

Also just purchased my second iPhone last month. Upgraded from a 2G to a 3GS. Love the simplicity, seamless integration with my computer, and the price isn't that bad either for what you are getting.

I work in a company were the IT department has called us MAC users the "gay computer community". Funny how in the last year at least 90% of them have all jumped on the iPhone wagon and rave on how awesome they are. I've been using the same OS foundation on my computer for years (now moved to a phone), and now all of the sudden it's not so "gay".


ahmad   July 23rd, 2009 2:58 pm ET

It amazes me at how delusional MAC users are. The reason Windows rules the market is because PCs are good inexpensive product. PCs do crash but they are a lot more powerful and can be easily upgraded. I don’t have an IPod or an Iphone and im not getting the new one either. Oh wait the new Iphone is G3 and it has a camera now? WOOOOWWWW!!!!!!!! I might change my mind now and stand in line for a week and pay 8k for it after all. Good luck Apple being the number one computer manufacturer in the universe with like .0001% of you market. Apple isnt really a challenger when it comes to computing, but they are masters at making fools spend thier life savings for a device that just now is getting a camera. Oh yea its G3 too. OOOOOOHHHHH!!!!!!!


James Phelps   July 23rd, 2009 3:44 pm ET

Jim, Macs really aren't that much better than PC's – in fact they are worse in some aspects.

I write write software and I'd like to think I know a thing or two about computers. I own a MacBook and I don't even run OSX on it anymore.

Mac's are generally best suited for casual computer users that don't have technical or high performance applications in mind... Basically, watching/listening to media and surfing the web.

Mac users, Apple is NOT a religion – please get over yourselves...


Just This Guy, You know...   July 23rd, 2009 4:00 pm ET

I love my iPhone. I'm somewhat embarrased that I bought it because Apple products are often associated with snotty jerks who say things like, "I feel that anyone using a PC when they could have a Mac just doesn’t know anything about computers."

Use a computer that WORKS FOR YOU. And quit implying that anyone who doesn't conform to the views and tennants of your OS Religion is a heretic or an idiot or pathetic uninformed fool. I'm so sick of the losers like this on whatever side of the OS "war"


Steven Cravis   July 23rd, 2009 4:14 pm ET

In response to Jim Smith, I think that's also why Google may likely succeed in developing Chrome OS which will be web based. It will also (like Apple) highly compete against Microsoft and all their software disasters. All Google needs is to secure a contract with the hardware makers, or become their own hardware manufacturer of laptops and Google Chrome PCs!


Marcie   July 27th, 2009 2:20 pm ET

I have taken 3 business trips this summer and left my MacBook Pro 17 inch screen laptop at home. Used iPhone only and it was wonderful. **Delta–saved $50 r/t because I did not need a 2nd suitcase.

I am forced to use Dell at school; MS 2003 which is so outdated. My Mac runs circles around it and I do most of my computer work at home except for email on that old school issued desktop.

Graphics shine and my portfolio looks awesome. I did a presentation this summer in Keynote; saved on a DVD in Quick Time Movie. The special effects sure brought a lot of positive comments.

Thank you Apple Store "One to One" Geeks; you make everything I do look great. I've had MAC since 1987.


deyoungfam   July 27th, 2009 4:37 pm ET

As a MAC user I don't think that it's APPLE's desire to take over the computer world. If it was they'd be mass producing inexpensive machines like every other company out there. Most of it would be trash. APPLE try's very hard not to mass produce trash. They seems to care more about quality, style, and simplicity. That is a draw to a consumer like me. Also, I'm in the design world and MAC's are built for the media world.

Just yesterday our Pastor told the congregation that he's had two hard drives go out on his Dell machines (all in the last 30 days). From the pulpit he made the comment that he might be going MAC. God works in mysterious ways! Upfront MACs may seem more expensive, but when you factor in all the updates, service calls, etc. for a PC the cost probably evens out.


Matt Harris   July 27th, 2009 9:56 pm ET

I just switched to the iphone 3gs from Verizon. I had to pay $180 to get out of my two lines, but it was definitely worth it. I payed $86 a month for two lines with no data with Verizon. I pay $90 or so a month for one regular line and one iphone. (I did receive a slight discount, but it was still very reasonable)


Ink cartridges   July 28th, 2009 5:36 am ET

Really the price is a bit high with iphones.


Juan   July 28th, 2009 2:27 pm ET

2 things to consider:

1) the taste of flan
2) linux


deyoungfam   July 28th, 2009 3:04 pm ET

not so sure that the price is that high for the iPhone considering what you are getting.

iPod touch (best music player on market) : $150-200
PDA: couple hundred bucks
Smart Phone: couple hundred bucks

Those features added up into this one devise is well worth the $199 I just paid.

The iPhone price isn't the issue. AT&T data package is way too expensive. As soon as APPLE is out of it's exclusive contract AT&T will have to drop it's monthly prices or will loose costumers!


dan   July 30th, 2009 9:06 am ET

iPhone User and PC user; iPhone was released because almost all mobiles, particularly in Europe, come with mp3 capability and even kids can afford a phone. However crudely implemented now, this is a major threat to ipod and in effect will kill off standalone music players altogether eventually. Apple saw this and acted. If they're going to beat Nokia though in the mainstream, they're going to need to get cheaper fast as well as build a massive sales distribution network around the world which would make their existing infrastructure look tiny.
Mac Vs PC; pcs are cheaper to buy and maintain which is why corporates choose PCs everytime. Usability is important of course- but less so on a big screen than on a mobile. Like most people, I want stuff cheap. If I can pay $499 for a branded pc that works fine, I will. I can use the other $499 to send my child to edukation-is-us.
Apple will probably not try to go mainstream in either market but stay at the high-margin end of the market and keep innovating to stay ahead.


Chris   August 5th, 2009 12:00 pm ET

I am among one of the iphone converts. Its not simply that i grew up in a generation where technolgically advanced so quickly and suddenly that whatever is thrown at us, we take whole heartedly-its the fact that the iphone mashes the ipod and a cell phone together. Personally, I am all for simplifying things, and this is another step in that direction. And I must admit that I am still a PC user, however I have found that electronics not made by Apple tend to be of a cheaper quality. To me, the ipod is dead-the iphone is alive and well. However, if apply decides to make a touch screen mac, I will switch over to apple without a look back–its all about the technology–I really can't wait to see what is produced next!


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