Apple has reported its best results in years with the release its numbers from the December quarter, Q1 of Appleis fiscal year. The company announced a profit of 17 cents per diluted share, or US$63 million, on sales of US$2.006 billion, up some 36% over last yearis US$1.47 billion. The company hasnit announced sales over the US$2 billion mark since the December quarter of 1999, four years ago, when Apple posted sales of US$2.34 billion. Apple had projected sales of US$1.9 billion for the quarter.
Apple says that US$3 million in profits came from an after-tax investment profit, which says that US$60 million came from operations. Dell is the only other PC vendor to earn a profit from its PC operations.
Looking forward, Apple expects to post sales of US$1.8 billion for the current March quarter. That, too, would represent a significant increase from recent years. Earnings for the quarter are being projected at being from 8 cents to 10 cents per diluted share.
In addition, Apple also shipped 829,000 Macintosh units, which is up 12% from the same period a year ago. It remains to be seen if that increase will be enough to have earned Apple a higher market share. Gross margins for the company were 26.7%, down from last yearis 27.6%.
Perhaps the biggest profit center for Apple was the iPod, which, as previously announced at Macworld, saw more than 730,000 units sold. That figure represents an increase of 235% over the previous year. According to Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich, iPods accounted for some US$69 million in profits for Apple in all of fiscal 2003, with much of that coming in this last quarter.
Apple was also able to increase its cash holdings yet again this quarter. The company now holds some US$4.8 billion in cash and short-term holdings. That represents an increase of US$225 million from the previous quarter.
We will have more information on the quarterly results with a detailed report on Appleis financial conference call later today.