It’s hard to believe its been just three months since we were here last, but it’s true. It’s already earnings season again and, in the feast of financial conference calls, Apple is an entree. Not surprisingly, Cupertino was raking in the big bucks yet again, but it wasn’t quite the windfall of revenue the company has seen in the past. All told the company pulled in $35 billion in revenue, pocketing $8.8 billion of that as pure profit, a record for both in Q3. But, just cause it wasn’t quite as lucrative a quarter doesn’t mean the boys in Cupertino aren’t happy with the results. Profits were up $1.5 billion from Q3 of 2011, once again allowing the company to declare yet another cash dividend for its share holders. During the last three months the company shipped 17 million iPads, an 84 percent increase over the same quarter last year — a simply staggering number. And don’t think that its other premier gadget has plateaued. 26 million iPhones were also sold, representing a 28 percent increase year-over-year. Interestingly, Mac sales slowed, increasing just two percent over last year, largely thanks to a 13 percent drop off in desktop sales.
The biggest money maker for the company continues to be the iPhone and its related products and services, however. More than $16 billion of the total revenue is directly attributable to the smaller member of the iOS family. The iPad is quickly closing the gap, netting Apple over $9 billion in this quarter alone. As a percentage of revenue, the iPod continued to decline, marking the slow death of the once flagship product line.
While revenues were down sequentially, it’s the year-over-year numbers that tell the real story and that explain why, for the second quarter in a row, Apple is able to award its investors a $2.65 per-share dividend. Revenue was up $9.5 billion from Q3 of 2011 and net income by $1.5 billion, as the company has continued to increase its market share and open up to niches to itself. For the next quarter Apple actually expects a small drop in both revenue and earnings per-share, but not enough that we expect Wall Street types to start yelling, “sell, sell, sell!”
During the earnings call, the company talked up its growth in the educational market in particular. Learning institutions ordered a record number of Macs from the company, with Rutherford County in New Jersey ordering 6,000 MacBook Airs and Pueblo, Colorado’s PS70 has begun migrating all of its students and staff to Airs as well. The iPad isn’t doing so shabby either, with educational institutions ordering one million of them during the quarter, with Mansfield, Texas alone ordering 11,000. The iTunes U program has also enjoyed great success, with 14 million downloads and hundred of new courses being uploaded during the quarter.
Tim Cook also discussed how China has instrumental in Apple’s continued growth. While revenues were down $2.2 billion from the previous quarter in the country they were up roughly 48 percent year-over-year to $5.7 billion. Cook was also quick to point out, however, that those numbers don’t have the benefit of including the launch of the new iPad which only went on sale a few days ago. Europe, on the other hand, has leveled out with only a small growth from Q3 of 2011. Some of that did have to do with the continuing weak economy, particularly in Western Europe.
There was also an acknowledgment that speculations about an iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4SS, or New iPhone…) have impacted sales of the handset during the quarter.