- SMB Spotlight
Apple has beaten analysts' and its own expectations with its financial results for the fourth fiscal quarter of the 2012-13 financial year. Apple's results were boosted by its iPhone sales, which sold a record 33.8 million units in the quarter.
The firm posted profits of $7.5bn on record revenues of $37.5bn. Overall profit was down on last year's fourth quarter profits of $8.2bn with the firm's gross margin falling from 40 percent to 37. Nonetheless, Apple chief executive Tim Cook hailed the results as a success: "We're pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones."
In selling 33.8 million iPhones, Apple set a new fourth quarter record. The figures were helped significantly by the launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C, which reached sales in excess of nine million in their first week on shelves.
The extent of the new devices' popularity has not been fully revealed by today's earnings call as the quarter's financial results only go as far as 10 days into the devices' time on the shelves. However, reports from last week confirm the cheaper, colourful 5C has had its production scaled back following tepid consumer demand.
iPad sales remained relatively flat as consumers awaited the next generation of Apple's tablet offering, reaching 14.1 million sold compared to 14 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Elsewhere, Apple sold 4.6 million Macs in the quarter, down on the same quarter of last year in which 4.9 million were sold. iPod sales continued their steady decline, down to 3.5 million from 6.75 million a year ago.
While Apple's last year has been highly profitable with a number of successful device launches including the iPhone 5S and iPad Mini, some have viewed Apple's year as somewhat lacking in lustre in terms of product innovation, with updates in device specification not meeting consumer demand for a fresh looking line up.
Apple refreshed its mobile operating system iOS 7 with a completely new look, which met with mixed reactions from users, some of whom were confused by the new interface while others claimed motion sickness. Apple has sinced released a series of software updates to appease many users' issues.
Last week, Apple announced its latest line-up of iPads with the launch of the thin and lightweight iPad Air. The announcement also included a heavily upgraded iPad Mini featuring a high-resolution Retina Display and the latest Apple A7 processor. The devices go on sale on 1 November, so do not factor into Apple's financial results.