A look at Apple's Q1 sales, by the numbers

Apple on Wednesday announced a profit of US$63 million on $2.006 billion in revenue, moving 829,000 CPUs and 733,000 iPods in the process. The first quarter numbers for Apple's fiscal year 2004 represent a 36 percent revenue increase year over year and a stark contrast to Q1 03, when Apple posted an $8 million net loss. Now that the dust has settled, it's time to look at where that $2 billion came from.

The year of the notebook

Steve Jobs told Macworld Expo showgoers in January, 2003 that it was the year of the notebook, and his premonition continued to be true (Apple's first fiscal quarter overlaps with the last calendar quarter of 2003). The strongest computer sales growth that Apple saw sequentially was in iBook and PowerBook G4 sales, with unit sales up 47 percent and 11 percent respectively.

Apple moved 201,000 iBooks last quarter when the company introduced the G4-based iBook. 195,000 PowerBook G4s were sold for the same period, a dramatic year to year improvement when Apple sold a scant 101,000 systems.

eMac, iMac and Power Mac sales both suffered sequentially; iMac unit sales -- which include eMac sales as well -- came in at 227,000 for the quarter, down 10 percent from the previous quarter and down 24 percent from the same period last year. Power Mac sales were still up from the same period a year ago at 206,000 units compared to 158,000 for this time last year, but down from the Q4 high of 221,000.

During his call with financial analysts on Wednesday night following Apple's announcement, Apple CFO Fred Anderson attributed this fluctuation in Power Mac sales to pent up demand for the new Power Mac G5, which began shipping in quantity during the fourth quarter of Apple's fiscal year 2003. Anderson told analysts that Apple is happy moving at least 200,000 units per quarter, and Apple exceeded that target by about 6,000 units.

Spotlight on iPod, Panther

The iPod was the star attraction of Apple's Q1 summary data -- Apple shipped 733,000 iPods in the quarter, a new record, and Anderson admitted that Apple could have sold more last quarter if they'd been able to keep up with demand. iPod sales added $256 million to Apple's bottom line -- a 118 percent unit growth and 112 percent revenue growth over the previous quarter, and a 235 percent unit growth and 216 percent revenue increase from year to year.

Apple also had an strong showing in both peripherals and software, partly driven by accessories for the iPod, according to Anderson, and partly through the release of Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther." Apple pulled in an additional $243 million in peripheral and miscellaneous non-CPU hardware purchases last quarter, a 12 percent sequential boost and a 77 percent boost year over year. $238 million was added to the bottom line in software sales, up 34 percent quarter to quarter and 54 percent year to year.

Who's buying and where?

The Americas continue to be Apple's biggest single geographical market segment, responsible for $924 million of Apple's $2.006 billion in quarterly revenues. That's more or less flat from the previous quarter, although it's 25 percent higher than the same period a year ago.

A strong Euro and increased demand in Europe made the region come on like gangbusters -- $519 million in revenue for the quarter, up 61 percent quarter to quarter and up 48 percent from the same period a year ago. Japan suffered slightly in sequential revenue, at $157 million or down 8 percent, but still greatly improved year to year with a 13 percent improvement.

Apple's retail segment made great headway this past quarter -- Apple reported $273 million in revenue from those efforts, up 33 percent on the quarter and up 39 percent year to year. Apple's retail stores were responsible for moving 73,000 of the 829,000 CPU units sold in the first quarter.

This story, "A look at Apple's Q1 sales, by the numbers" was originally published by PCWorld.

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