For its second fiscal quarter of 2001, Apple Computer yesterday announced a net profit of $43 million dollars, or $.12 per share, on second quarter last year, they utterly crush the analysts’ estimates of $.01 per share that followed last quarter’s $195 million loss. Apple’s cash and short-term investment position remains strong, with over $4.1 billion available.
Credit for the improved results goes in part to Apple’s cost-cutting measures and lower component costs, but more obviously to the popular PowerBook G4 Titanium, which sold 134,000 units in the quarter, far better than its PowerBook G3 (FireWire) predecessor in either last quarter or the year ago quarter. The PowerBook G4 Titanium also helped boost Apple’s gross margins to 26.9 percent, still below last year’s 28.2 percent. Sales of the Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio) were also stronger than last quarter, at 250,000 units. However, the iMac couldn’t quite match the Christmas quarter with 300,000 units, and the iBook – the model most in need of revision – racked up sales of only 55,000 units. Even with Apple’s price cuts, the Power Mac G4 Cube managed sales of only 12,000 units. The most interesting lift to Apple’s revenues came from Mac OS X, which reportedly accounted for $19 million.
Some thoughts about Apple’s financial position: Apple’s fortunes may be relatively independent of the larger computer industry, perhaps because Macintosh purchases are more commonly individual rather than corporate decisions. Also, note that a compelling product like the PowerBook G4 Titanium can sell well even in a cool economic climate. In contrast, the Power Mac G4 Cube – despite its elegant and quiet design – simply didn’t offer sufficient advantages over either high-end iMacs or low-end Power Mac G4s to entice buyers even after Apple dropped its price. We’ll probably see the Cube either benefit from a significant revision or disappear entirely by the end of 2001.