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For the first time in many years Apple disappointed market analysts and reported sequential decline in sales of its popular iPad, iPhone and iPod products in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2011. Nonetheless, Apple still managed to report almost all-time record revenue of $28.27 billion thanks to skyrocketing sales of Macintosh computers.

During the quarter that ended on September 24, 2011, Apple sold 17.07 million iPhones, representing 21% unit growth over the year-ago quarter, but a decline from 20.34 million in the previous quarter. The company sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, a 166% unit increase over the year-ago quarter and a sequential increase by almost two million units. Apple chipped 4.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 26% unit increase over the year-ago quarter and also a skyrocket from the previous quarter. Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27% unit decline from the year-ago quarter and also nearly a million quarter-over-quarter decline.

Thanks to strong sales of Apple Mac PCs and Apple iPad media tablets both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, Apple earned $28.27 billion during the Q4 FY2011, only 1.06% less than back in Q3 FY2011 ($28.57 billion), which was Apple's best quarter ever.

“We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion. Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

During the fiscal 2011 Apple sold over 72 million iPhones, 32 million iPads and almost 17 million Macs.

The reason why sales of iPhones declined during the calendar third quarter are simple and were clear even back in Q2 2011: Apple delayed the next-gen iPhone launch from June to October, but at the same time revealed the next-gen iOS 5 operating system and implied the arrival of iPhone 4S during the calendar 2011. As a result, owners of iPhone 3G/3GS also postponed their upgrades and overall sales were weaker than expected.

The declines in iPod sales are a natural result of growing popularity of iPhone and iPad devices. Instead of players, people now get smartphones and those, who used to buy players as gifts now get iPads.

Thanks to the fact that customers are usually significantly satisfied with iPhone or iPad products, they also turn their attention onto Macintosh personal computers. Thanks to their relatively affordable pricing amid consistently high build quality, a lot of former Windows users start to utilize Macs.

Apple expects revenue of about $37 billion and we diluted earnings per share of about $9.30 in Q1 FY2012 due to strong sales of iPhone 4S as well as incoming holiday season.

Tags: Apple, Business, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Macintosh, iPod

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