Apple Reports Record Quarter Results amid Lack of Major Product Introductions

Calm Before the Storm: Apple Reports Record Quarter, But a Breakthrough is Ahead

by Anton Shilov
10/26/2012 | 03:22 AM

Apple on Thursday disclosed its financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which ended September 29, 2012. Although during the quarter the company did not refresh its product line during the quarter, sales of all of its major products remained on strong level, which helped the company to report record Q4 results with 27% increase of sales year-over-year and a 2.8% boost quarter-over-quarter.


Apple posted quarterly revenue of $36.0 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $28.3 billion and net profit of $6.6 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.0% compared to 40.3% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 60% of the quarter’s revenue.

“We are very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results. We are entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline,” said Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple.

Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 58% unit growth over the year-ago quarter and even a slight growth from the previous quarter. It is remarkable that the company managed to increase sequential sales of smartphones during in Q4 FY2012 amid massive rumours about the forthcoming iPhone 5. Usually, shipments of iPhone decline as new model is approaching. In the first quarter of the company’s fiscal 2013, the iPhones are likely to set a new shipments record thanks to introduction of the iPhone 5 in early October, 2012.

Following massively successful second quarter of fiscal 2012, Apple sold 14.0 million iPads during the third quarter, a 26% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Considering the fact that in the third calendar quarter there were no real rivals for the third-generation Apple iPad media tablet, it is noteworthy that sales of the slate actually slowed down. With the release of the iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad, the company remains on-track to set iPad shipments records in the ongoing quarter.

Apple sold 4.9 million Macs during the quarter, a 1% unit increase over the year-ago quarter, but a 22.5% sequential increase. Looks like Mac users decided to wait one quarter before buying refreshed MacBook Air and all-new MacBook Pro 15” with retina display. Keeping in mind that sales of Macs usually peak in the company’s first quarters and the fact that the company will start to ship new MacBookPro 13” with Retina in October as well as new iMacs in November and December, it is likely that Apple Macs will set up all-time sales records in Q1 FY2013.

Apple sold 5.3 million iPods, a 19% unit decline from the year-ago quarter. Shipments of iPod portable digital media players usually increase significantly during the year-end season, but they are unlikely to reach 15 million units level this year as such gadgets are quickly losing popularity to smartphones and media tablets.

In many ways, unit shipments results as well as financial results in Q4 FY2012 should be considered as “calm before the storm”. In the first quarter of fiscal 2013 Apple will set new records in terms of unit shipments of iPhones, iPads and Macs, all the major products from the company. In addition, the firm will likely report record revenues and profits.

Apple’s board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on November 15, 2012, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on November 12, 2012.

“We are pleased to have generated over $41 billion in net income and over $50 billion in operating cash flow in fiscal 2012. Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2013, we expect revenue of about $52 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $11.75,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO.