Apple profits jump 23.8% year-over-year to $8.2 billion in Q4 2012

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By Kathleen De Vere Comment

In a fourth quarter that was right in line with Wall Street’s expectations, Apple announced today it sold 26.9 million iPhones, 14.0 million iPads and 5.3 million iPods. Overall, the company reported $36.0 billion in revenue, good for net profits of  $8.2 billion during Q4 2012. Although the results may disappoint some industry watchers, it was yet another record quarter for Apple, which reported its best ever September revenues and profit.

Overall revenues were up slightly quarter-over-quarter, rising just 2.8 percent over the previous quarter’s sales of $35 billion. Year-over-year, revenues increased much more substantially, rising 76.9 percent year-over-year over Q4 2011‘s $20.34 billion. Net profit was up 23.8 percent year-over-year from Q4 2011’s $6.62 billion.

Earnings were $7.05 per diluted share. Apple has announced it will pay a dividend of $2.65 per share, payable on Nov. 15. The company’s gross margin for the quarter was 40 percent, almost on-par with Q4 2011’s 40.3 percent, but down over Q3 2012’s 42.8 percent.

Apple sold 46.2 million iOS devices during the quarter, a decrease from Q3 2012 when the company sold 49.8 million iOS devices. Interestingly, iPhone sales were up only slightly Q3’s numbers, when apple sold 26 million iPhones, even though iPhone 5 sold a record 5 million units at launch.

Overall however, iPhone sales were also up 57.5 percent over the same time a year ago — by comparison, the company sold 17.07 million iPhones when it launched the iPhone 4S in Q4 2011.

iPad sales declined 17.6 percent quarter-over-quarter, but were up and 25.9 percent year over year. iPod sales continued to decline, falling 19 percent from the same time a year ago.

During the call several analysts questioned Apple about its margins after Apple revealed the margin on the iPad Mini was “significantly below” its corporate average. According to CEO Tim Cook, one reason for the reduced margin is the iPad Mini’s “aggressive pricing” strategy. Chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer also detailed the device’s construction and high-end components as a reason for its high cost before adding that the company was working on bringing down its cost curves and lowering manufacturing costs.

Apple’s retail stores also recorded a best-ever September result, but were steady quarter-over-quarter, with $4.2 billion in sales. They were up 18 percent year-over-year. During the call, chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer revealed Apple’s retail stores recorded 94 million visitors for the quarter. Apple finished the quarter with $9.8 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand.

Apple is predicting record sales for its upcoming holiday quarter. The company expects to see Q1 2013 revenues of $52 billion and diluted earnings per share of approximately $11.75. If Apple’s predictions hold true, revenues will be up 12.2 percent over Q1 2012’s numbers.