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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 walk2k on 10/19/2009 7:26:06 PM , Rating: 1
10 million iPods 7 million iPhones vs 3 million Macs... how is this a win for the Mac again? It may be good financially for Apple but not much of a threat to MS/Windows.

It's real easy to exceed expectations when you set them so low.

ZOMG WE DOUBLED OUR MARKET SHARE... from 3% to 6%.... HOORAY FOR US!!!


RE: let's cut to the point
By captainBOB on 10/19/2009 10:23:59 PM , Rating: 3
You forget that those same overpriced Macs and iPhones also generate a lot of profit per unit sold so while Apple could sell 5 million Macs @ $200, they prefer to sell 3 million Macs at the $1000+ price range, effectively earning more for less.

Its not about who sells the most, but who gets the most money out of it, and Apple wins in that regard.


RE: let's cut to the point
By damianrobertjones on 10/20/2009 5:46:32 AM , Rating: 2
You may not realise, but apple have captured the imagination or should I say stupidity of the young generation. With them eventually growing older, earning more money, apple sales will grow and grow.

I don't really like this situation as it's all down to the 'cool' factor, not the 'our products are better'. They're not. Never will be. Inovation, yes, better, no.


RE: let's cut to the point
By KoolAidMan1 on 10/20/2009 6:21:59 AM , Rating: 2
Nope, some of their products are actually better. The only other notebook I would think of owning are mid and high end Lenovos, everything else doesn't measure up to the Macbook Pro. I've used Windows for over a decade longer than I've used OS X (got my first Mac for Final Cut Pro back in 2002), I know both operating systems backwards and forwards, and I believe that OS X has a much better UI for multitasking. My Mac is my work/general purpose machine while my Windows PC is for games, basically a very expensive console.

This isn't a bad thing btw; if it wasn't for competition in the OS space then Microsoft wouldn't have such a fire under their ass to make Windows 7 as great as it is. The result is the best version of Windows so far. See, not bad. The only thing that is "bad" is when a single corporation has complete dominance and gets lazy as a result. Everybody is competing hard right now and we all benefit from it.


RE: let's cut to the point
By damianrobertjones on 10/20/2009 8:22:29 AM , Rating: 2
True, true. Good points there. Competition = good. Intel/amd etc.

I just wish apple would be straight with their adverts instead of 'cheating'... ish. Apple = cool, pc = sad, lonely guy, with bad haircut. Doh


RE: let's cut to the point
By n0ebert on 10/20/2009 10:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
They should grow. They need to grow to a level where they will be brought under the same scrutiny and criticism as Microsoft is by the governments. It seems they go largely ignored because of their much smaller market share. I hope to one day see the EU fining Apple some stupidly large sum of money like they did Intel and Microsoft.


"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive














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