It’s not that Tim Cook hasn’t delivered addresses like this for Apple before, but he’s always done it while giving us all this sense that he and his buddy Steve chatted about it a few minutes ago and they’d like to share it with us. You just never had the sense that he was all alone out there. At the risk of sounding a little creepy, I still had that sense today.
With the inside track telling us that while Apple posted record iPad sales in this last quarter, we also knew that they were falling a little short of expectations when it came to delivering iPhones to consumers.
This afternoon, Tim Cook took control of the Q4 earnings call to give us the details.
Cook began by paying respects to Steve Jobs, indicating this was the first earnings call since his passing and expressing his regret for the loss of his friend whom he referred to as an amazing human being. He expressed his dedication to continuing Jobs’ work and credited him for laying the foundation for Apple’s continued success.
The news following that tribute was overwhelmingly positive. Cook explained, “Revenue for the quarter was $28.3 billion, representing year-over-year growth of 39%. The year-over-year increase was fueled primarily by strong growth in iPad, Mac and iPhone sales. Operating margin was $8.7 billion, representing 30.8% of revenue. Net income was $6.6 billion, increasing 54% year-over-year and translating to earnings per share of $7.05.”
Breaking it down, Mac sales saw delivery of 4.89 million Macs to consumer hands setting a new all-time quarterly record due in large part to the success of recently rebooted the MacBook Air. This, in addition to the 6 million downloads of the MacOS Lion upgrade made this a banner quarter for the division.
The iTunes store grew significantly as well, showing revenue of $1.5 billion resulting from the considerable increases to the existing catalog offerings and availability.
As predicted, the iPhone was the big disappointment for Apple though it seems almost ridiculous to describe it that way given the $11 billion dollars brought in by the signature smartphone and compatible accessories, showing a 24% increase from the year-ago quarter.
Also as predicted, the iPad was the major star of the show. Sales of 11.2 million units trumped the 4.2 million units sold in the year-ago quarter, representing a 166% increase. Cook explained that Apple is thrilled with the momentum shown by iPad sales and expressed enthusiasm and confidence that this trend would continue.
Not to be forgotten, Apple retail stores also fared well this quarter. Revenue here was $3.6 billion which was a modest 1% inrease over the year-ago quarter. But before being underwhelmed, recall that Apple opened 30 new stores in this period.
Cook also shared details on tax margins and operating budgets, most of which is not what we were really tuning in for.
The call was ended with projections of $37 billion in revenue for the upcoming quarter, which pales the $26 billion from the December quarter last year. Cook sounded grateful when celebrating Apple’s banner fiscal year and proud of the prospects for the next.
Better yet, he sounded like a leader.