Apple's Q1 2012 Fiscal Results Are Ridiculous

Apple's Q1 2012 Fiscal Results Are Ridiculous

In short:

  • 37 million iPhones sold.  Apparently the 4S was top dog.  I expected the free 3GS to take the honors, but it looks like the 4S is living up to the hype.  I'm still curious as to the volume that the 3GS saw.  It's still a great phone.  And free ain't bad.
  • 15 million iPads.  Penetration into pretty much every Fortune 500 business on the planet.  And the revamped iTunes U and iBook Author should make for some interesting education numbers over the next year.
  • Over 8 million iPod touches.  Not bad.  Again, over half of all iPods sold were touches.

That's 60m iOS devices sold in one quarter.  There's a real chance that Apple will sell ~200 million iOS devices in FY2012.  And that's assuming everything stays relatively quiet on the TV front.

The sleeper number to me was that Apple sold 1.4 million TVs last quarter.  That's the first time, if I'm not mistaken, that they've sold more than a million in a quarter.  Still miniscule, in comparison to everything else.  But it also means that the device is gaining traction.

And what happens (as some are suggesting has been hinted in various iOS beta releases) if Apple opens up TV to app development?

Two words:  Siri.  Games.

I don't know anything.  I've not revealed privileged information.  Just an educated guess on my part.  But I'm betting the console makers are paying very close attention to the TV rumors that keep going around.

Update:  Apple now the number one smartphone manufacturer in the world.

Update II: Matt Richman suggests >60m iOS devices sold last quarter vs. ~59.6m Android devices:

Last month I used the compound interest formula to calculate that Google would activate 59,653,187 Android-based devices during Apple’s fourth calendar quarter. Apple has said that iPod touch sales make up more than half of all iPod sales. That means Apple sold at least 7.7 million iPod touches. And that number, plus 37.04 million iPhones and 15.43 million iPads, means iOS outsold Android last quarter.

I've been saying to people since the 4S and Siri were announced that we may be seeing a sea-change in the mobile platform environment.  It's still too early to tell, but this is suggestive.  I'm going to see if I can get details from Google's conference call and see how they match up with Matt's calculations.

Android had huge momentum.  But that seems to have been thoroughly blunted, if not outright reversed.  Apple has lost some of the ubiquitous mobile OS IP lawsuits that've been in litigation these last couple of years.  But we have a long way to go before those get settled out.

And they're mostly for final positioning with respect to licensing fees.  I don't expect to see any significant permanent bans as a result.  It'll most likely mean Apple gets to dip into Google's/Motorola's/Samsung's/etc. pockets for $10-15/device for a few years.  Not chump change, but the devices will still be available on the market.

The question really becomes--is Apple developing an environment that is:

  1. Incredibly inviting to outsiders (I thought I read somewhere that 1/3 of all iPhone sales were to former Android users; can't find it now).
  2. An increasingly deep and broad moat once people engage.
  3. A significant technical leap ahead of its competition, especially with the likes of Siri.  Apple owns this technology, and all of the related patents.  Yes, Google is apparently working on a competitive technology.  But the AI behind Siri is state-of-the-art.  I studied AI in grad school.  I don't know the technical specifications for Siri, but the overviews that I've looked at suggest it is seriously advanced.  And it took years, both in the DoD (I think it was a DARPA project before it was spun off), and then in the private sector, before it was perfected.  Google's going to have to come up with something competitive, and stay well away from the IP that Apple owns.  And I think that IP has teeth.

2012 is going to be fascinating.  In some ways (and I know this will be sacrilegious to some people), I'm hoping Apple doesn't get too far out in front.  The competition between Apple and Google has been to the benefit of us all.  It is, in my opinion, a perfect example of what the open market is supposed to provide:  multiple players, duking it out for mind- and market-share, providing new and exciting technologies at a cheaper and cheaper price.  Win-win, as far as I'm concerned.

It needs to stay that way.  I want Apple to be challenged to continue to compete.  To continue to provide the best experience for the customer that they can.

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