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An Apple A Day
Apple (AAPL) has monopolized headlines for much of 2010 amid waves of new product hype and, more recently, the antennae concerns. As a result, all eyes were on the tech giant when it reported June-quarter results.
Investors seemed a bit nervous in the time leading up to the report about Apple’s quarter, largely as the result of heightened publicity over the latest iPhone’s dropped calls, which have risen due to poor external-antenna design. This even included a less-than-favorable review from Consumer Reports.
Adding to the suspense, some of the early tech earnings releases left the Street with a rather unclear picture of how the sector, as a whole, was faring. Optimism abounded after Intel’s (INTC - Free Analyst Report) June quarter indicated that corporate spending was recovering. Shortly thereafter, however, investors became a bit more wary when IBM’s (IBM - Free Analyst Report) revenues reflected a more cautious climate. When all was said and done, though, Apple would not disappoint, registering substantial top- and bottom-line advances in the three-month interim.
Indeed, the Silicon Valley-based technology giant reported outstanding results for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 (year ends September 25th). Share earnings came in at $3.51, $0.06 higher than our aggressive estimate and 75% more than last year's comparable tally. (Note that the company changed accounting methods this year: it now recognizes iPod/iPhone and Apple TV revenue immediately, rather than deferring much of it for 24 months as per an older subscription-oriented accounting standard.)
The upside was mainly driven by strong demand for the new iPad tablet, of which 3.27 million were sold in the quarter since its April 3rd debut. Add to the mix the fourth installment of the popular iPhone. Notwithstanding investor fears to the contrary, sales of this device seem to have been little affected by the negative publicity about dropped phone calls.
The core Mac PC line, meanwhile, also performed very well during the June period, as Apple benefited from an improved economic backdrop and a positive halo effect created by the iPhone/iPad hysteria. In fact, the company sold 3.47 million Mac PCs, its highest three-month total ever.
At first glance, the only blip in Apple’s stellar quarter appears to have been the iPod, which experienced a year-to-year decline in sales of about 8%, to 9.4 million units. But even this was only a volume regression, as healthy demand for the higher-priced Touch model kept revenues on the incline.
In light of Apple’s overall impressive performance, we are raising our share-net estimates for this year and next.