Wiping the slate
You can’t fault the numbers
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.