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Apple’s Knockout Quarter

Zoinks! Apple turned in stellar quarterly results Wednesday, reporting its second highest revenue and earnings, which is not bad considering it’s the June quarter we’re talking about. The company sold a boat load of iPods (8.1 million), a lot of Macs (1.3 million), and the company’s higher education sales were through the roof (up 31% year over year).

There was a bit of angst heading into the quarter over iPod sales, and I think it safe to say that Apple surprised everyone. Certainly extended hours saw Apple trading higher by some 11.5% (at $58.83, up 6.07) when last I checked.

All that said, the biggest surprise to me was the fact that Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook were both a lot more open in a couple of situations where the company has historically been tighter than a drum head.

Surprise #1: Peter Oppenheimer told an analyst "We’re not sitting around doing nothing" when it comes to cell phones [Read TMO‘s full coverage for more info.]. In the context of an analyst conference call, that’s pretty much the same as saying, "Dude, of course we’re working on a cell phone, but we’re not there yet.

That’s nothing short of a shocking revelation for a company that subpoena’s journalists to get their sources when those journalist leak an unannounced product.

Surprise #2: COO Tim Cook made strong statements about Boot Camp as a successful lure for Switchers. [Read TMO‘s full coverage for more info.]

The quote: "We released the beta in April. The number of downloads that we’ve had are significant, and the customer feedback that we have had on Boot Camp is very, very good. It’s clear that for a Windows user that is considering switching to a Mac, that it makes it even more appealing to them to switch."

Keep in mind that Boot Camp is still a beta release, but that Apple was willing to go on record with the SEC as saying that Boot Camp is bringing money to the table. This isn’t the same sort of surprise as the cell phone comment, but Apple’s track record is to play coy when it comes to the specific impact a specific technology or product is having on sales.

Especially when it’s a beta product!

So what does this mean? Is Apple opening up? Maybe, but everyone was still mum on things like breaking down sales numbers by product, and other aspects of the future not pertaining to cell phones. It’s more likely that these are two issues that Apple felt so strongly (Boot Camp) or comfortable (cell phones) about, that it was willing to hint at the future just that little bit.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.  

2 Responses

  1. I think by this point, people who even remotely follow Apple, know that they design and prototype a lot of products that never see the light of day. Frankly, it would have been a MUCH bigger surprise to hear that they’ve never worked on a phone product.

    Of course, Oppenheimer’s quote “We’re not sitting around doing nothing” is so ambiguous that it really means nothing. If they once had a meeting where someone wondered if they should make a phone, that accurately matches his description of Apple’s work on a cell phone.

    I know that when you’re used to hearing nothing but static, even the smallest bit of seemingly purposeful noise can seem like a huge deal. (just ask the folks at SETI) I have to wonder if that isn’t all Oppenheimer’s quip amounts to.


  2. I think that the setting is what gives that (otherwise lightweight) comment weight. Every single thing those guys utter in an analyst conference has been vetted by someone whose job it is to make sure Apple is in compliance with SEC regs.

    For instance, you can sometimes tell they’re reading a prepared answer to a question they knew would be asked, but elected not to address in the opening remarks.

    That wasn’t the case with this phone comment, but I still think it significant. 🙂

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