Apple unpeels 47% profit increase | Shanghai Daily

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October 21, 2009

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Apple unpeels 47% profit increase

WALL Street knew Apple Inc's results for the most recent quarter would blow past the company's forecasts, but investors clearly weren't prepared for the 47 percent jump in profit that Apple delivered.

Shares skyrocketed to an all-time high in after-hours trading on Monday evening on news that Apple sold more iPhone and Mac computers than ever.

Apple's financial report "reinforces my view that Apple is hands down the best technology company on the planet," said Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall in an interview.

Apple unveiled a faster iPhone in June and cut the price of the previous generation of the phone to US$99. Those moves boosted iPhone sales from July through September to 7.4 million, half a million more than in the same period of 2008, despite shortages of the newest iPhones that persisted through the quarter.

Apple has weathered the economic meltdown better than other computer companies, giving it a running start when PC sales grew in the quarter. Apple has also updated its Mac operating system and refreshed its MacBook Pro line. Apple sold 3.1 million Macs, a 19 percent rise from the same period a year ago.

As Apple's iPhone, which has iPod features built in, has grown in popularity, Apple's regular iPod music player business has suffered. The company sold 10.2 million iPods in the quarter, 8 percent fewer than last year, even though Apple unveiled a new iPod Nano with a video camera in September.

But even with the number of iPods dropping, iPod revenue rose in the quarter. That means people are trading up, Marshall said.

Apple is rumored to be working on a tablet-style computer that's a cross between a laptop and an iPhone or iPod Touch, but the company is notoriously secretive about new products.

Apple said it earned US$1.7 billion, or US$1.82 per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended on September 26. Revenue jumped 25 percent to US$9.9 billion.

For all of fiscal 2009, Apple said its profit rose 18 percent to US$5.7 billion, or US$5.36 per share. Revenue climbed 13 percent to US$36.5 billion. For the current quarter, Apple said it expects to earn US$1.70 to US$1.78 per share, below the US$1.91 that analysts expect.

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