Apple Discusses Mac Sales

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Excerpt from Apple Computer, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) earnings conference call; CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook are speaking and fielding analyst questions:

I would like to talk first about our Mac products, which represented 58% of our total quarterly revenue. We shipped a total of 1.61 million Macs, significantly greater than the previous quarterly record of 1.38 million Macs sold in the first quarter of Apple's fiscal 2000.

Our September quarter Mac shipments grew 30% over the prior year, which is more than three times IBC's latest published market growth projections for the quarter. We believe this growth rate is particularly remarkable, given the tough comparison to the prior year's September quarter, which was up 48% year over year.

The strong growth in Mac sales was largely due to unprecedented demand for our portable products, with sales of nearly 1 million units, representing 61% of all Macs sold during the quarter.

Ending channel inventory of Macs was below our target range of four to five weeks.

With our Mac Pro launch in August, we have transitioned all of our Macs to the Intel architecture in nine months. We are extremely pleased with our team's speed and skill in executing this complex transition, and our developers continue to make great progress as well.

There are over 4,000 universal applications available today and we estimate that by the end of December, 80% of the 500 Mac applications we consider most important to our customers will be available in universal versions...

Our education channel had an outstanding quarter, selling a record number of Macs, driving 20% year-over-year growth. We are particularly pleased with this growth, which is significantly greater than IDC's most recently published forecast for the U.S. education market for the quarter. It was the most successful back-to-school quarter ever for our higher ed business, where shipments of Mac portables increased 49% year over year. This result was due in large part to the popularity of the MacBook in higher ed, as well as our very successful back-to-school promotion.

And later in the Q&A:

Tim Cook

...on the Japan side, when you combine the channel results with our retail store results, Macintosh units on a year-over-year basis declined by 10%. The market in Japan is among the weakest in the world and IBC was also expecting a contraction during the quarter.

However, having said that, we're not pleased with our performance there and we've got a number of activities underway to attempt to improve them. I would point out that despite the reduction in the Macintosh area that from a year-over-year point of view, revenue was up 26% in Japan on strong iPod sales.

...Kathy Huberty - Morgan Stanley

Just going back to inventory and channel inventories for Macs, do you feel you can get that back to normal levels ahead of the holiday season?

Tim Cook

We did drop below the four to five weeks, as Peter said in his opening remarks. That was due primarily to very, very strong demand on the MacBook and a great reception to the iMac that we announced in early September, the new lineup of iMac. I do anticipate being able to get the channel back to reasonable levels during the quarter, but I'm not forecasting what will happen at the end of the quarter.

Kathy Huberty - Morgan Stanley

How should we think about any potential stalls in the Mac business ahead of the Leopard launch next year? Has that typically happened in the past?

Tim Cook

We have all of our thinking embedded in our guidance, but as Steve announced at the developer's conference, the Leopard will be shipping in the spring of next year.

For more, see the entire Apple conference call transcript (free). A full list of the most recent conference call transcripts on Seeking Alpha is here.