Thanks to the introduction of new iPods last month, along with the completion of the transition to Intel processors with the introduction of the new Mac Pro and Xserve in August, Apple was able to beat Wall Street analystsi estimates of sales for both products. Mac unit sales even set a new record, with 1.61 million desktops and laptops shipped last quarter, accounting for US$2.213 billion in revenue. Units and revenue were up sequentially and year-over-year by 19 to 37%.
Meanwhile, iPod units of 8.729 million, for $1.559 billion in revenue, were a leap of 35% and 29%, respectively, over the year-ago fiscal quarter. Compared to the previous quarter, however, they were up a more modest 8% and 4%. The "Other Music-Related Products and Services" category, which includes iTunes Store sales as well as iPod services and accessories, accounted for $452 million in revenue last quarter, up an astounding 71% from a year ago but off 1% from last quarter.
An analyst asked about the latter figure during Appleis earnings call, prompting CFO Peter Oppenheimer to respond: "In the quarter, we reduced our channel inventory on the Apple branded iPod accessories in advance of our announcements on September 12th, so that played into it. And also, the summer is usually not the best quarter for music sales. People are on vacation and it generally is not the strongest quarter for new album releases either."
When asked about the current fiscal quarter, which includes the lucrative holiday buying season and should be up substantially from last quarter as a result, Mr. Oppenheimer would only say: ""Iim not providing a quantitative forecast, but we have seen that in the past."
Examining the Macs
A closer look at the numbers provided by Apple showed that portables dominated its Mac sales, with 986,000 units moved, versus 624,000 desktop models, a category that includes iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, Xserve, and the now-discontinued Power Mac and eMac. While desktop units and revenue increased 18% and 23% sequentially and 4% and 10% year-over-year, laptop units and revenue jumped 24% and 16% from last quarter and 56% and 63% over last year. The introduction of the MacBook was likely a big part of that increase, although itis impossible to know for sure, since Apple no longer provides sales breakdowns by model.
Laptop revenue was $1.344 billion for the quarter, compared to $869 million for desktops. Apple sold 1.327 million Macs in fiscal 3Q06, for $1.866 billion in revenue, and 1.236 million Macs during fiscal 4Q05, for $1.611 billion. The unit breakdown was closer a year ago, standing at 602,000 desktops and 634,000 portables, but widened in 3Q06, with 529,000 desktops and 798,000 laptops.
Apple sold 781,000 Macs in the Americas, with 342,000 shipped in Europe, 62,000 in Japan, 323,000 through its retail stores, and 102,000 in Asia Pacific and other regions. All regions posted sequential and year-over-year gains except Japan, where units were off 22% sequentially and 13% year-over-year, despite increases in revenue.
When asked about weakness in Japan last quarter, Mr. Oppenheimer replied: "On the Japan side, when you combine the channel results with our retail store results, Macintosh units on a year-over-year basis declined by 10%. The market in Japan is among the weakest in the world and IDC was also expecting a contraction during the quarter."
He added: "However, having said that, weire not pleased with our performance there and weive got a number of activities underway to attempt to improve them. I would point out that despite the reduction in the Macintosh area that from a year-over-year point-of-view, revenue was up 26% in Japan on strong iPod sales."