Apple Posts Record Profit & Sales for December Quarter [Update]

| Apple Stock Watch

$AAPLApple announced results for the December quarter on Wednesday, posting record sales of US$54.5 billion and a record profit of $13.1 billion. Both numbers were led by iPhone and iPad sales of 47.8 million and 22.9 million units respectively.

“We’re thrilled with record revenue of over $54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “We’re very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products in the world.”

iPhone sales were well up over last year's 37 million units, but were just below the consensus estimates of 48-50 million units expected by Wall Street. iPad sales were also well up over last year's 15.4 million units.

Mac sales were well off of 2011's results, with Apple posting 4.1 million units sold compared to 5.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts were expecting unit sales of 5 million. Apple's Mac results were hampered by delays to the iMac line that was refreshed in October, especially the 27-inch model, which didn't ship until very late in the quarter.

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said his company generated $23 billion in cash during the quarter.

The company also provided bullet-point guidance for the March quarter, including:

  • revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion
  • gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent
  • operating expenses between $3.8 billion and $3.9 billion
  • other income/(expense) of $350 million
  • tax rate of 26%

Guidance will be scrutinized by analysts and investors, and we'll have more in our detailed coverage of Apple's conference call.

The company's stock sank in after-hours trading. $AAPL had edged higher throughout the day in anticipation of the company's results, ending the day at US$514.005, up $9.235 (+1.83 percent), on strong volume of 25 million shares.

After-hours traders sent the stock back below $500—as of this writing, $AAPL was trading at $486.88, down $27.125 (-5.28 percent). After-hours trading tends to be exaggerated in the wake of an earnings report, but barring an upbeat conference call with analysts, $AAPL will probably trade lower in the regular session on Thursday.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.

Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Wow, Bryan, they didn’t even make Munster’s estimates, which were totally low-ball. This is gonna be a tough one to spin.

skipaq

The report is actually considered flat compared to consensus pro estimates. That probably means the stock will take a drop. Guidance isn’t going to excite these analysts either. It is nevertheless a good financial report. Brad’s spin can be taken with its’ usual anti-Apple prejudice.

Robbo

Unfortunately, the competition out there is very tough, the gross margin dip is not a good sign. If Apple posts another dip next time around this could get awkward.

Robbo

On a personal level, I don’t like the direction Apple seems to be taking with CPU based items. I want Apple to be innovating there as well, not just making ‘everything thinner’.
When it came to finding a suitable replacement for an ageing MacPro, I waited and waited for the iMacs, but was so underwhelmed I went out and bought the best spec MacMini and an NEC 24” screen.

MuppetGate

The gross margin dip was expected. Ive’s designs are becoming increasingly difficult to manufacture (hence the shortages). Still, they’ll improve now they’ve got the process sorted out, and then dip again when he comes up with the iPhone6 hmmm

ibuck

I agree with Robbo & Muppetgate.  Unless Apple starts making watches, which I doubt, thinner is not a desired quality in their devices, especially if it restrains production, negatively affects battery life, or restricts ability to upgrade RAM. iDevices are plenty thin already, and thinner just makes them harder to hold securely.

Lee Dronick

“thinner just makes them harder to hold securely.”

Spot on! 

As to sales I think that a lot of people here in the United States held off on purchases until after the election, concerns about middle class taxes increasing and such.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

$459.89 after hours. But I’m not just going to snipe. I’m going to lay out a plan in the next couple of days.

Bryan Chaffin

I’m interested in seeing that plan, Brad.

One note, though: Gene Munster’s numbers were towards the higher end of the spectrum. Pretty sure Apple hit Shaw Wu’s numbers, but I haven’t had a chance yet to double check that.

skipaq

Brad, look forward to your plan. If it is along the lines of fire Cookie, open up iOS, tear down the walled garden approach, then we have heard it before.

As far as the share price it is a snapshot in time. Taken in after hours at that.

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