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Apple is practically printing money, blowing away analysts estimates quarter after quarter, and sustaining terrific growth. Sales of Macs and iPods shot up in the company's fiscal Q4, which ended September 26.  (Source: Apple Gazette)
Even analyst's raised predictions fell dramatically short

Apple is a company that continues to defy expectations.  Reporting its fiscal Q4 earnings late this afternoon, Apple continued to restore its reputation as one of Silicon Valley's hottest companies and help put a sales slump from earlier this year behind it for good.  The results for the quarter, which ended September 26, took even Apple's most optimistic supporters by surprise.

Analysts had raised their estimates in September, afraid of embarrassment from past underestimations.  Unfortunately for them, the Apple surprise was even bigger this time, and they still fell short.  Analysts had forecast $1.42 earnings per share in profit -- Apple delivered $1.82 earnings per share.  Revenue was $9.87B USD, much more than the predicted $9.2B USD.

Fueled by the 3GS refresh, over 7.4 million iPhones were sold over the quarter, nearly matching the raised estimates of analysts, some of whom were predicted about 7.5 million sales.  Fears that Apple's sales weren't on pace proved unfounded.  The sales marked an increase over analyst average estimates of 7 million phones, and a substantial increase over last year's sales of 6.9 million units.

The best news for Apple, though, was its Mac sales.  Boosted by Snow Leopard and Back-to-School specials, Apple sold 3 million Macs, much more than the analyst forecast of 2.8 million units.  This was particularly significant as Macs comprise the largest single source of Apple's income.

As predicted, iPod shipments declined 8 percent to 10.2 million units.  Still, this was slightly cheerier than the 10 million units that was the average forecast.  And the financials look rock solid.  Gross margins as a percentage of revenue are up to 36.6 percent, compared 34.7 percent in fiscal Q4 of last year.

Despite being embarrassed again, analysts lavished praise on the bullish Apple.  States Shaw Wu, who covers Apple for Kaufman Bros, "It was a strong, strong quarter.  [The] big upside was driven by Macs and iPhones. This was amazing despite very high expectations, and we're still in the middle of a recession."

Stocks roared upwards in after hours trading, gaining more than 6 percent and cracking $201/share, to tie the company's highest historic share price (Note: These were after-hours trades, the market may yet settle to a slightly lower mark).

Apple CEO Steve Jobs cheered the results and titillated Apple fans, stating that the company has "some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010".  He's likely referring to Apple's upcoming tablet PC, which is rumored to finally hit in 2010.


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RE: let's cut to the point
By FATCamaro on 10/19/2009 7:15:14 PM , Rating: 4
The problem with your statement is that they are also at the top of satisfaction surveys. Which means people are liking what they are trying.


RE: let's cut to the point
By Alexstarfire on 10/19/2009 7:24:27 PM , Rating: 1
Which I've also pointed out doesn't mean it's the best product either. I guess people fail at reading on here. Though perhaps you just haven't seen the NUMEROUS other posts I've had on that subject. Of course not all people are the same too. Could be that those inclined to purchase a mac will like it more than those who don't purchase one. Which again says nothing about the quality of the product itself, just the way it's perceived.


RE: let's cut to the point
By Pneumothorax on 10/19/2009 8:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
After spending >$5000 in MBP's in the last 2 years, I'm bittersweet with my Apple experience. On one hand, PC users don't have a laptop with the speed(with a caveat), 15" screen size, battery life (without a heavy/ugly lump of an extended battery sticking out the back), weight/build quality in one laptop. OTOH my ~$500 X25M 160gb will constantly freeze (beachball) or I can choose to cap it at SATA I speeds. 1 laptop swap and motherboard swap later, I'm still running at 1.5gbps speeds to keep it from freezing.


RE: let's cut to the point
By Alexstarfire on 10/20/2009 1:51:17 AM , Rating: 2
I really don't know why I got down rated for my last post, because what I said is true? If people don't believe that the way you perceive an object affects how much you like it then they are living in a fantasy world. What I said applies to far more companies than just Apple so it's not like I'm some Apple basher doing it because everyone does.

I'm sorry you bought a crappy laptop, but there isn't anything I can do about it. I can say that one thing I have found interesting is that it's not so much the laptop as it is the OS that affects battery life. I'm not sure if you remember the article that Anandtech did comparing Windows to Mac OS in battery life on notebooks. Windows laptop did crap, Macbook did great. Then they put Windows on the Macbook and watched the battery life fall right in line with the Windows laptop. Seems that either Apple is crippling Windows on it's laptops or that its own OS does something to improve battery life. I couldn't say without knowing the ins and outs of both OSes.

I'm also glad that you have >$5k to spend on laptops alone, but most don't have that kind of money. People seem to be insulted when others tell them they can't afford a Mac, IDK why though. I've had my $400 laptop for about a year and it's great. No problems with it at all. Doesn't play games that well, but I didn't buy it to play games. Everything else it is just fantastic for. Can't say much about build quality since this is the only laptop I've owned, but since I don't treat it like crap it pretty much looks brand new. The top cover has some scuffs and is worn a bit, but that's it. No scratches, chunks, or pieces broken off. Keys work perfectly and everything else is exactly the same, including the screen. I simply never could have afforded to get Macbook even if I wanted one. Yes a Macbook is far better than what I have, but it really doesn't matter. This suits my needs pretty much perfectly. Only thing I'd change is putting in a dedicated graphics card. Integrated GPU FTL.


RE: let's cut to the point
By PrinceGaz on 10/19/2009 7:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
Most Apple owners are very satisfied with what they bought because they perceive it as being the best available product. Whether it is the best or not is irrelevant; they believe because they spent a lot of money on a recognised brand that they have the best product available.

Having bought what they see as the best brand, one which is recognisable among all their peers who also view it as the best brand makes them happy with their purchase. It doesn't matter if they are selling over-priced junk, or genuine high-quality products. Apple is now associated with quality and people like to be seen with it.


RE: let's cut to the point
By Alexstarfire on 10/19/2009 7:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I think if they actually used all the products available and then voted I think we may end up seeing things in a bit truer light. Although what he says may still stand. It's one of the reasons why Sony is still pretty dominant in the TV sector even though there are other TVs that are better and cheaper than them. Perception is everything, which is why I said they aren't bad businessmen or marketers.


RE: let's cut to the point
By dark matter on 10/20/2009 2:33:35 AM , Rating: 2
Erm, don't Apple place gagging orders on customers who have problems with their product in order for them to get a refund?

"What's the matter sir, your iPod exploded and took out your car"
"Yes, and I am going to tell everyone"
"Actually Sir, you're not allowed to, Lawyers are already onto you, if you dare speak about this to anyone you will get a knock on your door in the middle of the night"
"Oh, I see"
"Yes, you better had"


RE: let's cut to the point
By sprockkets on 10/19/2009 8:39:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and this is the second stupid knockoff name that's come up in the past week. Can't you come up with something better than a "FITcamaro" sound alike?


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