Apple Unlikely To Sell Cheaper Computers, Jobs Asserts

Quarterly sales increased 27%, driven primarily by Macs and 6.9 million iPhones, making the company the third-largest mobile phone maker in terms of revenue behind No. 1 Nokia and Samsung.
During the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple sold 6.9 million iPhones, compared with 1.1 million a year ago, making the company the third-largest mobile phone maker in terms of revenue behind No. 1 Nokia and Samsung, Jobs said. IPhone revenue in the quarter was $4.6 billion.

Mac sales were also strong, rising to 2.6 million units in the quarter. That represented a 21% increase in terms of unit growth and 17% growth in revenue, the company reported. IPod sales rose 8% from a year ago to 11.1 million units, which amounted to a 3% increase in revenue.

As to Apple's plans for Apple TV, Jobs indicated that time isn't right for major investments in the device, which makes it possible to move video and other content from a Mac to a digital TV in the home. "Given the economic conditions and venture capital outlook, I think it will continue to be a hobby in 2009," Jobs said of Apple's plans to play a bigger part in people's home entertainment centers.

Overall, the company's sales grew 27% to $7.9 billion in the quarter from $6.22 billion a year ago. International sales accounted for 41% of revenues. Profits increased to $1.14 billion or $1.26 a share, from $904 million, or $1.01 a share, a year ago. Gross margins rose to 34.7% from 33.6% a year ago. Because of price competition and the need to maintain a strong feature set in its products, company executives predicted gross margins would be about 30% in 2009.

For the current quarter, Apple forecast revenue from $9 billion to $10 billion and earnings per share between $1.06 and $1.35. "Looking ahead, visibility is low and forecasting is challenging, and as a result we are going to be prudent in predicting the December quarter," Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said in a statement.

As of the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple added non-GAAP measures to its financial reports, as well as results based on GAAP, which stands for generally accepted accounting principles. Non-GAAP measures often exclude one-time charges another items.

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