By most common-sense accounts, Apple had a strong fiscal fourth quarter with $20.3 billion in revenue and more than $4.3 billion in profits. The company did sell more than 14 million iPhone units and more than 4.1 million iPad devices but some of these marks were below analysts’ expectations.
“We are blown away to report over $20 billion in revenue and over $4 billion in after-tax earnings—both all-time records for Apple,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “iPhone sales of 14.1 million were up 91 percent year-over-year, handily beating the 12.1 million phones RIM sold in their most recent quarter. We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of this calendar year.”
The Apple iPhone 4 has been an unqualified hit and no amount of Antennagates or Glassgates seem to be able to stop the momentum. The jab at the BlackBerry maker is kind of mean-spirited but not completely out of place – RIM is the leading smartphone maker (in terms of units) in the United States and Apple wants to make it clear that it is on pace to knock it out.
Analysts estimated that the company could sell up to 6 million iPad units in the quarter, so the 4.1 million is a slight disappointment in the minds of some. Still, that means Apple has sold more than 7.4 million units in a space which was considered impossible to bring to the mass market.
The Apple iPad has also kicked off a tablet revolution – we’re about to see a variety of tablets from the likes of RIM, Motorola, HTC, Palm, Samsung and others. Android tablets may eventually outsell the iPad but it is unclear if other companies will be able to wring out the profits like Apple has been able to.
The company also sold 9.05 million iPod units, which was actually an 11% decline from the same period last quarter. I still think the iPod touch with FaceTime will be a big seller this holiday season.