A look at Apple's unit sales for Q4

Apple on Wednesday posted a US$44 million profit for its fourth financial quarter, which ended on September 27, 2003. It's a rosy report for a company that reported higher earnings that some analysts expected, especially compared to a net loss of $45 million for the same quarter a year ago. On what systems did Apple make money? Here's a look at the company's summary data for the quarter, where Apple pulled in $1.715 billion in revenue.

Apple's introduction of the Power Mac G5 -- and its price drop for the Power Mac G4, which remains in production -- both added up to strong unit sales for the quarter. Apple moved 221,000 Power Mac units for Q4 '03, a 66 percent unit increase sequentially and a 26 percent improvement year over year. Power Macs also made up the largest single segment of Apple's revenue for the quarter -- $419 million of $1.2 billion in revenue related to CPU sales.

With refreshed PowerBook G4s across the line, including the long-awaited update to Apple's popular 15-inch PowerBook G4 model, the company saw 9 percent sequential growth and 203 percent year over year growth in PowerBook sales, totally 176,000 units for the quarter and $348 million in revenue.

With so much emphasis on Apple's professional products, iBooks and iMacs both suffered for the quarter, both sequentially and year over year. Apple moved 253,000 iMacs and 137,000 iBooks for the quarter -- down 12 percent and 28 percent respectively compared to the previous quarter, and down 20 and 25 percent respectively for the same quarter a year ago. iMac sales total $279 million in quarterly revenue; iBooks came in with about $154 million added to Apple's coffers.

Q4 '03 was the iPod's strongest showing yet, with 336,000 units sold, totally about $121 million in revenue. That's 11 percent better than the previous quarter, and 140 percent better than the same quarter a year ago.

Peripherals and other hardware totalled $217 million in revenue for the quarter, up 25 percent compared to the June quarter and 13 percent compared to Q4 '02. Software sales also showed a modest gain with $177 million in revenue, up 7 percent sequentially and 13 percent year over year.

Overall, the Americas remain Apple's single biggest geographical region. The region was responsible for snatching up 453,000 of the 787,000 units Apple sold worldwide, equalling about $928 million in revenue. While the number of units sold was flat sequentially and down 3 percent year over year, Apple saw a 12 percent increase in sequential revenue and a 6 percent improvement year over year, which means that Apple saw higher margins on the units it sold.

Europe is showing signs of increased demand, as well. Apple moved 158,000 units in Europe for the quarter, compared to 144,000 for the June quarter and 136,000 for the same quarter a year ago. In total, Apple made about $323 million in European sales.

Sales in Japan slid sequentially -- Apple moved 76,000 units during the quarter for abut $171 million in revenue. That's an 11 percent drop sequentially, though Apple showed a 2 percent improvement in revenue; year over year sales grew 27 percent, however, and year over year revenue grew 30 percent.

Apple's retail efforts were responsible for 59,000 CPU units sold last quarter, totalling about $193 million in revenue. That's a 48 percent improvement sequentially and a 74 percent improvement year over year -- strong numbers, even given the increase in the number of retail locations that have opened since the fourth quarter of 2002.

Apple also noted $100 million in revenue generated from "Other Segments," which it defines as the Asia/Pacific region (separate from Japan) and its FileMaker business.

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