Sales of its iPod and iPod mini portable digital music players, together with strong retail store sales, catapulted Apple Computer to report better-than-expected earnings in the fiscal fourth quarter by eight cents. At the same time, iMac sales were off 8% from the previous quarter and 23% from the same quarter in 2003 after Apple announced in July it would not ship the new G5 iMac for over two months. At that time, Apple also told Wall Street analysts the delay would not hurt fourth-quarter profits.
Apple announced a net fourth quarter profit of $106 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, compared with a net profit of $44 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $2.35 billion - the highest Q4 revenue in nine years - up 37% from a year ago.
It was the idevil in the detailsi that showed Apple exceeded previous quarter unit sales of portable music player sales as well as its retail stores, but fell short in unit sales of every Mac system compared to the previous quarter.
The company sold 2,016,000 iPods in the fiscal fourth quarter, 134% more than last quarter and 500% more than a year ago. Revenue from the portable digital music players was $537 million, up 116% from the fiscal third quarter.
During Wednesdayis Q4 conference call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that 6% of the 2,016,000 iPods sold during the quarter were units sold to Hewlett-Packard.
229,000 iMacs were sold in the quarter worldwide, but Apple refused to break down exactly how many of those were the old G4-based iMac versus the new G5-based model. The G5 iMac was announced at the end of August at Apple expo in Paris, but did not start shipping until mid-September. Based on reports from dealers and catalog retailers, it appears availability of the new model was tight at the end of the quarter. In addition, the availability of the older G4 iMacs during the quarter was all but nonexistent as Apple stopped production of the model.
As a result of the lower-than-expected availability of iMacs, unit sales were down 6% from the previous quarter and 23% from a year ago. Revenue from iMacs was $216 million, down 8% from fiscal Q3 and off 23% from the same quarter in 2003.
238,000 iBooks were sold during the period, off 1% from the last quarter, but up 74% from the year ago period. Revenue was $256 million, down 2% from fiscal Q3 but up 66% from Q3 for 2003.
213,000 PowerBooks were sold during the period, off 10% from the last quarter, but up 2% from the year ago period. Revenue was $419 million, down 3% from fiscal Q3 and down 4% from Q3 for 2003.
Power Mac sales
156,000 G5 Power Mac systems were sold in the quarter, off 10% from the previous quarter and 29% from the same period last year. In terms of revenue, Power Macs made $340 million, up 2% from fiscal Q3, but down 19% from a year ago.
Geographic segment sales
North America was again Appleis strongest geographic area in terms of revenue and unit sales at $1.19 billion and 471,000 unit, sequentially. Compared to the last quarter, North American sales were unchanged and up 4% from a year ago. Revenue was up 17% from fiscal Q3 and up 29% from a year ago, excluding sales from the its retail stores.
155,000 Macs were sold in Europe for a revenue count of $423 million. Thatis down 19% in units from the last quarter and down 2% from a year ago. Revenue was up 4% compared to Q3 and up 31% from the same period in 2003.
The Japanese segment continues to be Appleis least most profitable region. For the third straight quarter, unit sales were substantially down, but revenue was up. 56,000 Macs were sold in Japan during the quarter on revenue of $175 million. Compared to the last quarter, unit sales were down 32%, but revenue was up fractionally at 2%. Compared to a year ago, unit sales were off 26%, but revenue was up 2%.
Bryan Chaffin contributed to this article.