Apple's Old Standbys, iPods and Macs, Drive Profit
by Nick Wingfield (2007-07-30 工商時報)
    Apple Inc.'s iPhone has been a magnet for hype. But the company's iPods and Macintosh computers were the stars of the quarter.
    The Cupertino, Calif., company said record sales of iPod and Macs helped the company post a 73% increase in its fiscal third-quarter earnings and a 24% rise in revenue. Apple also said it sold 270,000 iPhones in the period and reiterated its goal of selling 10 million of the cellphones by the end of next year.
    The Apple product that investors watched most closely -- the iPhone -- was the one that mattered the least to the company's business during the quarter. The iPhone went on sale on the evening of June 29, just 30 hours before the close of the quarter, but investors were hoping the company still would have belowout sales of the products, even during that brief period.
    Instead, iPhone sales fell short of Wall Street's bullish guesses, which ranged as high as 700,000 units. But the product sold better than some analysts had expected after Apple's wireless partner in the U.S, AT&T Corp., said on Tuesday that only 146,000 subscribers had signed up with the carrier because of the iPhone in the first days of its launch.
    Yesterday, Apple said expects to sell on million iPhones by the end of the current quarter. In a nod to the outsize iPhone forecasts from analysts, Apple noted that it look seven quarters from the launch of the iPhod for the company to sell on million of the digital music players.
    "It won't be easy to build a third great business, because our competitors are large and entrenched, and it will not be done over night," said Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer. "Our perspective is measured in years, not months, but the rewards, we believe, are huge for Apple."
    Apple said it recognized $5 million in revenue from the iPhone and related products for the quarter. For the iPhone business, the company is employing subscription a accounting, in which it recognizes revenue over a period of 24 months from the time of sales for a device. Apple said it intends to announce partnerships later in the quater to bring the iPhone to the European market.
    "Relative to yesterday's announcement from AT&T, I think there was a little bit of relief from investors that units sold were significantly higher," said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
    The iPhone didn't dim the success of Apple's iPod business, though some analysts have speculated that the cellphone, which contains similar entertainment functions, could ultimately grab sales from the older product line. Apple said it sold 9.8 million iPods in the quarter, for $1.57 billion in sales, up from 8.1 million iPods, or $1.5 billion, in the same period a year ago.
    Apple's Macintosh computer business performed even better. The company sold more than 1.8 million Macs, for $2.53 billion in sales, up from 1.33 million Macs, or 1.87 billion in sales, during the same period the prior year. Although Macs represent a small portion of new PC sales -- around 5% in the U.S. -- Apple executives said the 33% unit growth in the Mac business was 2 times the world-wide unit growth rate of personal computers.
    Favorable pricing for memory chips, a significant component of the cost of computers, also enhanced Apple's profitablility in the quarter. The company said its gross margin was 36.9%, up from 30.3% in the year earlier period.

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