Wip­ing the slate

You can’t fault the num­bers

Finweek English Edition - - TECH TRENDS - SIMON DINGLE si­mond@fin­week.co.za

THE NUM­BERS are in: Ap­ple’s done it again. In the first fis­cal quar­ter of 2011 (which re­lates to last quar­ter 2010) Steve Jobs’s em­pire made rev­enue of US$26,74bn (around R178,89bn) and net quar­terly profit of $6bn (or $6,43/di­luted share) against rev­enue of $15,68bn and net quar­terly profit of $3,38bn (or $3,67/di­luted share). Its gross mar­gin was slightly down in quar­ter-on-quar­ter anal­y­sis at 38,5% – still some­thing that for the most part its com­peti­tors can only dream of. The quar­ter set a record for Ap­ple in terms of profit and rev­enue. And CEO Jobs ended it by an­nounc­ing an­other hia­tus due to sick leave. In his ab­sence COO Tim Cook has stepped up to the plate.

Jobs timed his leave well. Be­sides the an­nounce­ment com­ing on a trade- free pub­lic hol­i­day, few share­hold­ers are ex­press­ing mas­sive con­cern about the lead­er­ship of a com­pany that’s just posted a 78% gain in profit. How­ever, the mix of prod­ucts that brought home the moolah is in­ter­est­ing. Ap­ple shipped a record 4m Macin­tosh com­put­ers, 16m iPhones and 7m iPads. The last­men­tioned is re­mark­able for a prod­uct that’s been on sale for less than a year and yet has sold 15m units to date. Speak to its ris­ing pool of com­peti­tors and they’re hop­ing to reach sales of 1m tablet de­vices in their first quar­ters.

But when you look at com­put­ing trends it’s un­likely we’re go­ing to see any­thing get­ting in the jug­ger­naut’s way. Deloitte re­ported re­search last week on trends for this year, pre­dict­ing more than 50% of all com­put­ing de­vices sold glob­ally this year will not be PCs and that 25% of all tablet com­put­ers will be bought by com­pa­nies. “That fig­ure is likely to in­crease in 2012 and be­yond,” Deloitte added. “While PCs will still be the work­horse com­put­ing plat­form, in a rel­a­tively short pe­riod tablets will re­place com­put­ers for ex­ec­u­tives who are mo­bile.”

Look around you in the busi­ness class lounge for ev­i­dence of that. iPads are as ubiq­ui­tous in mod­ern busi­ness travel as Cham­pagne-class board­ing passes. And I’ll say it again: it’s been on sale for less than a year.

Fur­ther ex­trap­o­la­tion of the trend spells good things for net­work providers – and not only our friends in cel­lu­lar. Says Deloitte: “The vol­ume of data up­loaded or down­loaded from por­ta­ble de­vices via pub­lic Wi-Fi net­works will grow at a much faster rate (25% to 50%) than the vol­ume car­ried over cel­lu­lar broad­band net­works.

So if you don’t al­ready have a tablet, chances are you’ll get one this year. And if you’re snig­ger­ing while read­ing this be­cause you’re one of those Ap­ple cyn­ics, then skip back to my first para­graph, be­cause I’d like to see your face change while you read the num­bers again.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.