Apple's fourth quarter, by the numbers

On Wednesday, Apple not only reached a major milestone with its highest fourth quarter earnings in nine years, according to CEO Steve Jobs, but it also shattered its previous record with more than 2 million iPods shipped during the fourth quarter of its 2004 fiscal year -- an incredible 500 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2003 and 134 percent more than the previous quarter. That number not only helped the company reach a commanding 92.1 percent share of the market for hard drive-based MP3 players, according to a recent report released by The NPD Group, but it also brought in $537 million in revenue -- more than any other product segment during the quarter and almost 23 percent of the $2.35 billion revenue Apple reported. iPod revenue was up 344 percent and 116 percent year-over-year and sequentially, respectively.

On the CPU front, Apple sold 836,000 computers, a 6 percent increase over the year-ago quarter but down 5 percent from the third quarter of 2004. Revenue for the entire category was $1.231 billion, up 3 percent year-over-year but down 3 percent sequentially. The company blamed the sluggish numbers on limited G5 processor availability, which delayed the introduction of the G5 iMac and affected the Power Mac G5 pipeline. iBooks led the way in this category with 238,000 units sold, which translated to $256 million in revenue, numbers that were up 74 and 66 percent year-over-year, respectively, but down 1 to 2 percent from 3Q04.

iMac and eMac shipments, which Apple rolls together in one category, came in second with 229,000 units sold and $216 million in revenue. That was a 23 percent drop in revenue from 4Q03 but 8 percent down from 3Q04, with the corresponding unit numbers down 9 and 6 percent, respectively. PowerBooks were the third-best selling computers with 213,000 units moved and $419 million in sales, making the portables the largest revenue earner among Apple's CPUs. The company sold 21 percent more of the laptops over 4Q03, with revenue up 20 percent, but looking at the numbers sequentially shows units sold and revenue down 3 and 4 percent, respectively.

Power Mac, which includes the Xserve product line, sold 156,000 units for $340 million in revenue during 4Q04 -- those numbers are down 29 and 16 percent year-over-year but down 10 percent and up 2 percent compared to last quarter. Given the higher sticker prices on Power Mac G5 and Xserve computers, this category was the second-highest revenue earner among Apple's CPUs.

In Apple's other sales categories, Other Music Products, which includes the iTunes Music Store and iPod-related accessories, came in at $98 million, Peripherals & Other Hardware was $271 million and Software & Other was $213 million. That first category jumped 600 percent year-over-year and 34 percent sequentially while the others saw more modest growth of 24 to 34 percent when compared to 4Q03 and 3Q04 -- except Software & Other, which flat-lined with a 1 percent improvement since last quarter.

The Americas tend to be Apple's strongest geographical area, and the fourth quarter was no exception to that rule. The company sold 471,000 CPUs in the Americas for $1.196 billion in revenue, a slight decrease from the 472,000 sold last quarter -- although those CPUs brought in $1.018 billion in sales -- but a large jump from the 453,000 units sold and $928 million in revenue generated a year ago.

In Europe, Apple sold 155,000 units for $423 million, a 2 and 19 percent drop year-over-year and sequentially in terms of sheer numbers but up 31 and 4 percent when looking at revenue. Apple's worldwide retail stores were the next largest segment in this category, with 98,000 Macs pushed out the doors for $376 million in sales. Revenue in the Apple Stores jumped 95 and 39 percent year-over-year and sequentially while units sold was up 66 and 34 percent.

Japan and other segments, which include Asia Pacific and Apple's FileMaker subsidiary, tied with 56,000 units sold. Revenue in the former was $175 million and in the latter it came in at $180 million. Japan is down 26 and 32 percent year-over-year and sequentially in terms of units sold but up 2 percent in both comparisons when you look at revenue. Year-over-year, the other category saw an 80 percent jump in revenue and a 37 percent hop in units sold, but sequentially, revenue was up 23 percent and unit sales were down 3 percent.

This story, "Apple's fourth quarter, by the numbers" was originally published by PCWorld.

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