In what chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer called a "great fiscal quarter," Apple reported a quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, compared to $2.53 billion for the same period last year. For the three months ended Sept. 25, Apple recorded $20.34 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 67 percent from the year-ago quarter's sales figure of $12.21 billion.
Apple's earnings of $4.64 per diluted share handily beat estimates by Wall Street analysts who were expecting the company to report earnings of $4.06 a share on $18.86 billion in revenue for September quarter.
"We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of the calendar year," said CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings. Apple has scheduled a press event for this Wednesday where the company is expected to focus on the Mac.
iPad and iPhone sales
Oppenheimer credited record iPhone sales, enthusiasm for the iPad, and a new quarterly sales record for Mac sales as the drivers behind Apple's strong quarterly performance. In particular, Apple sold 4.19 million iPads during the first full quarter of sales for the tablet; all told, the company sold 7.5 million iPads during its 2010 fiscal year.
"We're thrilled with its momentum," Oppenheimer said during a Monday conference call with financial analysts. "We're seeing great enthusiasm from consumers, educators, and businesses."
For the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple recorded $2.8 billion in sales of iPads and related accessories, with the iPad accounting for $2.7 billion of that figure. That translates to an average selling price of around $645 for the tablet, Oppenheimer said.
iPad sales may disappoint some analysts, who were expecting Apple to sell close to 5 million tablets. One of the issues may be with inventory -- Apple says it has three to four weeks worth of channel inventory, which is below its target range of four to six weeks. The company plans to expand its iPad distribution efforts, adding retailers such as Verizon, Walmart, Target, and AT&T into the mix as well as launching in additional countries.
As for the iPhone, the launch of the new iPhone 4 helped Apple sell 14.1 million phones during the quarter. That's a 91 percent increase over the 7.4 million phones sold during the year-ago quarter and a new quarterly record for smartphone sales for the company.
More to the point, Apple's iPhone sales topped the 12.1 million phones the company claims that rival smartphone maker Research In Motion sold during its most recent quarter--a fact highlighted by CEO Steve Jobs during a rare appearance on the quarterly earnings call with analysts.
"We've now passed RIM, and I don't see them catching up to us in the future," said Jobs, who targeted most of his remarks during the conference call at Google and its Android operating system. Jobs called Google's claims that Android is more open than Apple's iOS "a bit disingenuous" and a "smokescreen" to distract consumers from the benefits of the integrated experience Apple provides with its iPhone and iPad product lines.