Yesterday, Apple released the results for its 2013 fiscal first quarter (which ran from September 30, 2012 to December 29, 2012, and did not actually include any days from calendar year 2013) and held a call with analysts to discuss the results. This is typically Apple's best quarter of the year because of holiday sales. It turned out to be Apple's best fiscal quarter ever, with revenue of $54.5 billion and profit of $13.1 billion. As John Gruber pointed out, just a few years ago Apple was thrilled to have $50 billion in revenue in a single year, and now they are seeing that in only one quarter. Another perspective: Apple is now seeing a billion dollars in profit every week. Perhaps Apple CEO Tim Cook put it best: “No technology company has ever reported these kind of results."
If you want to get all of the nitty gritty details, you can download the audio from the announcement conference call from iTunes, or you can read a rough transcript of the call prepared by Seeking Alpha. Apple's official press release is here. As always, however, I'm not as concerned about the financial details as I am the statements of Apple executives during the call that are of interest to iPhone and iPad users. Here are the items that stood out to me:
- Apple sold a record 47.8 million iPhones last quarter. You could buy an iPhone 5 in 100 different countries last quarter.
- Apple sold a record 22.9 million iPads last quarter. Apple did not disclose how many of those were iPad minis, but it did say that it could not make enough iPad minis to keep up with demand.
- That means that Apple has now sold over 500 million iOS devices to date. Last quarter, Apple sold 10 iOS devices every second.
- Apple emphasized that the iPhone is embraced by government agencies and businesses around the world. For example, iPhones are in use here in the U.S. at NASA, NOAA, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and that favorite of frequent fliers, the TSA. Similarly, Apple emphasized the widespread adoption of the iPad in businesses and government agencies. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer even noted: "Court systems, county inspectors, and law enforcement agencies use iPad to streamline processes and replace huge amounts of paper. And state legislatures in Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia are all using iPads to give lawmakers instant access to government documents and information."
- The App Store now offers over 775,000 apps, including 300,000 native iPad apps. Over 40 billion apps have been downloaded, and app developers have been paid over $7 billion.
- One analyst asked Apple CEO Tim Cook whether Apple was considering a larger screen size for the iPhone, considering that you can get Android phones with almost comically large screens. Cook's response: "The iPhone 5 offers, as you know, a new four inch Retina display, which is the most advanced display in the industry and no one comes close to matching the level of quality as the Retina display. It also provides a larger screen size for iPhone customers without sacrificing the one-handed ease-of-use that our customers love. So, we put a lot of thinking into screen size and believe we’ve picked the right one."
- Another analyst asked about how important marketshare is for Apple when it comes to smartphones. Tim Cook answered — consistent with long-standing Apple policy — that Apple is not focused on chasing marketshare but instead is interested in making the best products. Cook said: "The most important thing to Apple is to make the best products in the world that enrich customer’s lives. That’s our high order bit. That means that we aren't interested in revenue for revenue sake. We could put the Apple brand on a lot of things and sell a lot more stuff, but that’s not what we’re here for. We want to make only the best products. And so what does that mean for market share? We’ve been able to do that, and I think we’ve had a great track record here on iPod, doing different products at different price points and getting a reasonable share from doing that. And so one doesn’t, I wouldn’t view the things as mutually exclusive as some might, but the high order bit is making a great product, that enriches customer’s lives. And so that’s what we are focused on."
- Tim Cook also talked about the improvements to the new Maps app now that Apple is no longer using Google Maps: "We have made a number of improvements to Maps since the introduction of iOS 6 back in September and we'll roll out even more improvements across the rest of the year. And we are going to keep working on this, as I have said before, until it lives up to our incredibly high standards. Users can already see many of these improvements because they include things like improved satellite and flyover imagery, new categorization, improved local information for thousands of businesses and so forth. The usage in Maps is significantly higher than it was prior to iOS 6."