Apple Q2 analyst conference call - Live Update

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer opened Wednesday's call with financial analysts with a recap of the news: Apple reported net profits of US$290 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, on revenue of $3.24 billion. Oppenheimer said it's the highest March quarter revenue and net profits in the company's history. Apple expects revenue of $3.25 billion for the June quarter, with gross margin in the range of 28.5 percent.

608,000 desktop systems were shipped; 467,000 of them were iMacs, eMacs and Mac minis.

Average quarterly revenue per store was $5.6 million. Traffic through the Apple retail stores keeps growing -- 9,800 per store per week, on average. 125 stores will be open by the end of the year, with 10 of them outside of the United States.

Oppenheimer said that Apple is very encouraged by its increased sales in Japan -- the company saw a 59 percent sequential increase in sales, and a 34 percent year-over-year improvement. This quarter, Apple reported 102,000 CPU units sold in the region, resulting in $284 million in sales.

iPod news

Apple shipped more than 5.3 million iPods for the quarter. Oppenheimer described strong consumer interest in the iPod shuffle, although he didn't break down the shuffle's sales from the overall iPod numbers. February data ranked Apple #1 in the flash market according to one metric, said Oppenheimer. The iTunes Music Store measures at or above 70 to 75 percent of the commercial download music market, according to a Nielsen Soundscan report.

Oppenheimer suggests that the iPod had "a very strong role" in attracting sales of new Macs, but he didn't provide specific numbers that might support the suggestion that the iPod is having a "halo effect" on Mac sales, though he did offer the various anecdotal reports he has mentioned before, such as the Apple Stores' rate of sales to new Mac owners. He also attributed the changes Apple has made to various Mac models and the iLife software suite as strong attractors for new Mac buyers too.

Oppenheimer said that Apple has about 43 percent of the flash MP3 player market, as reported by NPD. The same report says that Apple has about 90 percent of the hard disk based market. Tim Cook said that it's "very difficult" to determine if the sales of the iPod shuffle have cannibalized sales of other iPod products, but Apple believes it has expanded the market for iPod-branded products.

Mac report

Oppenheimer said that with the June quarter, Apple will no longer offer the same details it now does for its computers -- Apple breaks out iMac (including eMac and Mac mini), iBook, PowerBook and Power Mac quantities. Oppenheimer said that starting with the June quarter, Apple will only report aggregate desktop and laptop sales.

Oppenheimer noted in a Q&A session with analysts following his preamble that new Mac users continue to buy Macs from the retail stores in the same quantity as before -- in the "low to mid 40 percent" range.

Many analysts and industry experts are interested in how well Apple's new Mac mini has sold. Unfortunately, Apple does not provide specific details on the sales of the Mac mini -- it rolls them into "iMac" sales. Oppenheimer was asked to elaborate further, but he refused.

MacCentral's live coverage of Apple's conference call with analysts has ended.

This story, "Apple Q2 analyst conference call - Live Update" was originally published by PCWorld.

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