Apple Q4 results: steady as a rock

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If you’re every other company, you’ve just come off announcing your third quarter financial results. Apple isn’t every other company. It just announced its Q4 results. Because Q3 results are so mainstream.

Anyway things are looking good for tech’s most successful company and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon. The US$41-billion in revenue might not be as much as people were expecting but it still means the company recorded US$8.2 billion in profit.

That’s better than any quarter it managed under Steve Jobs and bleeding spectacular when you consider that Amazon posted a US$13.8-billion sales loss and Google’s Q3 release was just plain embarrassing.

The Cupertino-based giant sold 26.9-million iPhones in the quarter, representing 58% unit growth over the same quarter a year ago. It also sold 14-million iPads during the quarter, a 26% increase over the same period in 2011.

If you needed any proof that Apple’s future is changing from its origins then you only have to look at is Mac sales. The company shifted 4.9-million Macs, a one percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. There’s still growth, but not nearly the kind seen by its post PC devices.

As for the device that started Apple’s rocket-like trajectory to the top, well it’s continuing its slide into irrelevance. Apple sold 5.3-million iPods, a 19% unit decline from the same quarter a year ago.

“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.”

“We’re pleased to have generated over US$41-billion in net income and over US$50-billion in operating cash flow in fiscal 2012,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2013, we expect revenue of about US$52-billion and diluted earnings per share of about US$11.75.”

The concentration on a boom holiday quarter mentioned by Cook and Oppenheimer is important. It’s pretty much a confession that the its decision to release the iPad, along with a fourth generation iPad and a 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display was a very deliberate one.

Add in the fact that the iPhone 5 will only reach a number of markets during the upcoming quarter and it’s easy to see just how good things could potentially be for the Cupertino giant.

Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of US$2.65 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on 15 November to shareholders of record as of the close of business on 12 November 2012.

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