On Monday, Apple released the results for it's 2010 fiscal fourth quarter and held a call with analysts to discuss the results. As has often been the case since 2007, the iPhone dominated the discussion. But in a rare surprise, Steve Jobs decided to participate in the call himself. (I believe that the last time that Jobs participated in one of these calls was two years ago in October of 2008, shortly before I started iPhone J.D.) Why did Jobs appear, considering that Jobs will also be speaking on Wednesday at Apple's "Back to the Mac" event? Perhaps Jobs wants to concentrate on the Mac on Wednesday so by participating yesterday he could say what he wanted to get off his chest about the iPhone and iPad. The only explanation offered by Jobs himself was that he couldn't help stopping by for Apple first $20 billion quarter. Whatever the reason, these calls are always more interesting when Jobs is there.
If you want to hear the full call yourself, you can download it from iTunes or you can read the transcript provided by Seeking Alpha. You can also read Apple's press release here. Here are the iPhone-related highlights of the call:
- Apple had its best quarter in the history of the company with $23.3 billion in revenue.
- There are over 300,000 apps in the App Store.
- Apple sold a record 14.1 million iPhones. The previous record, set during the first few months of calendar year 2010, was 8.75 million iPhones, so Apple beat its previous record by over 5 million iPhones. And Apple reported considerable backlog so it could have sold even more if it could have kept up with demand.
- Many of those are sales to law firms and other companies. Apple reported that a record number of companies are using the iPhone, including around 85% of Fortune 500 companies.
- To provide some perspective, Apple reported 91% growth in iPhone sales during a quarter when overall smartphone sales were up 64%.
- To provide even more perspective, RIM sold 12.1 million BlackBerries during the same quarter, and Jobs noted that he doesn't see RIM ever catching up to Apple's lead.
- Jobs noted that the real competition to the iPhone is Android, and while Google claims that Android is better because it is "open," Jobs said that is false. The real difference is fragmented versus integrated. Android is fragmented and apps that are written for one device won't always work on other devices which discourages app developers. With the integrated iPhone, where Apple makes the hardware and the software and there are only one or two supported versions of the iOS at one time, developers have more opportunities for sales and there is less confusion for the consumer.
- Jobs also compared Apple to Nokia: "Our goal is to make the best devices in the world. It's not to be the biggest. As you know, Nokia is the biggest, and we admire them for being able to ship the number of handsets that they do. But we don't aspire to be like them. They are good at being like them. We want to be like us, and we want to make the best ones. ... Nokia makes $50 handsets, and we don't know how to make a great smartphone for $50. We're not smart enough to figure that one out yet, but believe me I'll let you know, when we do."
- Jobs also discussed other iOS devices. The iPad had an amazing quarter as well with 4.188 million sold, a total of 7.4 million sold to date. Looking ahead to the competition on the horizon, Jobs noted that a few other companies plan to release tablets with 7 inch screens (versus the 10 inch screen on the iPad), but Apple believes that is too small. When people want a smaller screen they opt for a smartphone. (I agree with this 100%.). Jobs also noted that there are already over 35,000 apps designed for the iPad, which makes it even harder for competitors to catch up.
- Speaking of the iPad, Jobs noted that while Apple hasn't been pushing business sales, business customers are buying the iPad in droves. (This is certainly happening in the legal arena.) Jobs stated: "We haven't pushed it real hard in business, and it's being grabbed out of our hands. And I talk to people everyday in all kinds of businesses that are using iPads, all the way from Boards of Directors that are shipping iPads around instead of board books, down to nurses and doctors in hospitals and other large and small businesses."
- The Apple TV (which runs a version of the iOS) has had amazing initial sales, with over 250,000 sold so far. Jobs noted that when iOS 4.2 comes out next month with the new AirPlay feature that let's you play iPhone video on an Apple TV, the Apple TV will become an even better product. (Again, I agree, and I cannot wait to see what becomes of this feature.)
So in short, it was a record quarter for Apple as a whole, and a record quarter for the iPhone. Surely at some point Apple will hit a peak, but for now sales just keep getting better and better.