Apple Sells 17.07M iPhones, 11.12M iPads, 6.62M iPods

By Kim-Mai Cutler Comment

Apple sold an additional 34.81 million iOS devices in the fourth quarter of this year. This is part of the 250 million iOS devices the company said were cumulatively sold when it announced the iPhone 4S two weeks ago.

Apple said it sold 17.07 million iPhones, up 21 percent over the same time a year ago, 11.12 million iPads and 6.62 million iPods. iPod sales were down 27 percent from the same time a year earlier.

Overall, net income is up 53.7 percent year-over-year to $6.6 billion. Net sales are up 38.9 percent year-over-year to $28.27 billion.

It was a rare miss on analysts’ estimates for Apple, with the company delivering $7.05 in earnings per share compared to the average estimate of $7.31 per share.

During the earnings call, the company said 77.5 million people visited Apple retail stores during the quarter while about 93 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying iPads.

One strong area of growth for the company was in China, which allowed Asia-Pacific revenues excluding Japan to more than double to $6.532 billion from $2.732 billion the same time a year earlier.

“For China — the sky’s the limit there,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook. He added, “I’ve never seen so many people rise into the middle class who aspire to buy Apple products. It’s quickly become #2 on our list of top revenue countries.”

Cook also added that he doesn’t foresee Amazon’s Kindle Fire being a serious threat to the company’s iPad business.

“Several competitors have tried to compete with the iPad for some time,” Cook said. “It’s reasonable to say that none of these have gained any traction.”

He said that while some consumers might be buying iPads instead of purchasing Macs, he said a “materially larger” number of consumers are probably buying iPads instead of Windows-based PCs.

“The tablet market will be larger than the PC market,” Cook said, adding that Apple has sold at least 40 million iPads.

He mostly declined to comment on patent litigation around the iPhone. Apple sued Samsung in April of this year, alleging that the company’s devices infringe on Apple’s intellectual property.

“We spend a lot of time and money on coming up with incredible innovation,” Cook said. “We don’t like it when someone else takes this. We’ve been pushed into a court situation to remedy that. I don’t want to comment on any particular lawsuit.”

Apple also had $25.952 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term marketable securities on its balance sheet at the end of the quarter, according to today’s filing. Cook said that while the company hasn’t ruled out doing share buybacks or making bigger-ticket acquisitions, he said he’s been content with the company’s approach so far.

“The cash is not burning a hole in our pocket, ” he said. “We’re very conservative. We’ve taken money and done things that are in Apple’s best interest. We’ve acquired several companies, we’ve acquired some IP. We invest in the supply chain and we use money to build out our stores and provide for a lot of new product tooling and the like. I believe what we’re doing with cash — the cash the way that we do spend — is an extremely good job. We’re good at using it in the right places. That said, I’m not religious about holding cash or not holding cash. So we will continually ask ourselves what’s in Apple’s best interest and always do what we believe is in Apple’s best interest. It’s a topic of the board on an ongoing basis.”