Apple once again reported its best-ever non-holiday quarter, with a profit of $3 billion on revenues of $13.5 billion for the period ending March 27, 2010. Year over year, revenues were up 49 percent while profits were up a whopping 90 percent. The company credited better-than-expected sales of its iPhone smart phone (and related iPod touch) for the strong showing.
Apple sold 2.9 million Macs in the quarter—a gain of 33 percent—and a bit better than the broader PC industry's 25.8 percent growth. The Mac now controls 3.6 percent of the worldwide PC market and roughly 7.5 percent of the US PC market.
The company also sold 10.9 million iPods during the quarter, a 1 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. This is the way iPod sales have been trending, but thanks to strong sales of the more expensive iPod touch, iPod revenues were actually up 12 percent.
However, it was the iPhone that stole the show. Apple sold 8.8 million iPhone smart phones in the quarter, a 131 percent gain over the previous quarter. In fact, it was the best-ever quarter for iPhone sales, and Apple credited international sales of the device for the surge.
Apple declined to provide further details about sales of the iPad tablet computer, which was available for pre-sale during the first quarter but wasn't delivered to the first customers until April. Previously, Apple said that it had sold 500,000 iPads in its first week, and the company wouldn't speculate about sales trends or whether the iPad would erode interest in the Mac. "We'll see what happens from here," Apple COO Tim Cook said.
Apple, as always, offered overly conservative estimates for the coming quarter. It is these obviously tainted estimates that allow the company to consistently defy analysts' so-called expectations, so I will no longer report on such things. The company also spoke vaguely about upcoming products. One of those products, presumably, is the so-called iPhone HD that leaked this past week to gadget blogs. But some have also speculated that Apple would make a stronger living room play in the future and augment its Apple TV product (which the company continues to term a "hobby") with an integrated TV solution of some kind.
However you slice it, Apple is on a roll. And while its tiny slice of the PC industry, slowing iPod sales, and possible product cannibalization from the iPad might hint at signs of trouble, the reality is that Apple is well poised for the future and continues to be an industry bellwether. In fact, I suspect that many of the PC makers that rank ahead of Apple in the worldwide unit sales ranks would happily switch places with Apple. Which explains, of course, why I continue to cover this amazing if exasperating company.