Now Apple Inc.'s numbers have been released for its fourth fiscal quarter, ending September 29, and it appears that the company has overcome numerous obstacles to post massive growth.
The Cupertino-based Apple, headed by quirky CEO Steve Jobs, saw its share of troubles this last quarter. First there was a class action lawsuit about the expensive replacement costs for iPhone batteries. Then there was the financial burden of the cutting the iPhone's price and the discontent among Apple's usually loyal ranks, about the cut insulting early adopters. Then came news that the new iDevices' screens were having quality issues.
This news was quickly followed by reports of iFires and massive media coverage of Apple's now infamous v1.1.1 firmware update for the iPhone and iPod touch, which turned unlocked iPhones and iPhones or iPod touches with third party applications into iBricks. Apple next saw two new class action suits over this development, along with allegations by Greenpeace that the iPhone is toxic (update).
Despite all of these problems, Apple was buoyed by a new line of iPods, which included the nano with color screen, the iPhone lookalike iPod touch and the mildly refreshed iPod Shuffle. Apple also drew upon the new low price of its iPhone and on an active new marketing campaign promoting the iPhone on TV.
The results are enough to turn the heads of even Apple's harshest critics. Apple recorded a whopping 67 percent increase in profits and made a net profit of $904 million USD, topping estimates. Apple stockholders made $1.01 per share in profits.
Apple sold 10.2 million iPods over the quarter and 1.11 million iPhones. iPhone sales topped the million mark early in September and were aggressive due largely to the price cut.
Despite laying off its trademark "Mac Guy, PC Guy" advertising campaign, Apple recorded landmark sales of 2.16 million Macs. To put the number in perspective; this is the largest quarterly sales of Macs in the company's long history which stretches over two decades.
Apple is now in third place in the domestic computer market -- behind only Dell and Hewlett Packard -- according to the IDC.
Apple is convinced its success is here to stay. Steve Jobs released a statement, saying "We're looking forward to a strong December quarter as we enter the holiday season with Apple's best products ever."Strong indeed. Apple, usually conservative in its sales and profit predictions, is predicting profits of $9.2 billion and earnings of $1.42 per share next quarter, which ends in December. Whether Apple will be able to sustain its torrid growth and meet these marks will only be revealed by holiday season sales.Apple's recent success may even have taken the company itself aback. Following weeks of rumors that the software and hardware giant is understaffed, particularly with the iPhone, Apple posted help wanted ads on social network Facebook, seeking an iPhone software designer.As Apple continues to grow and transform, it will likely continue to experience some growing pains. As a corporate leader, you often lose the "cool guy" image that has been Apple's bread and butter. Apple will almost surely endure some more harsh press, but for now they can bask in the glory of their massive fourth quarter success.