Three Quick Reactions to Apple's 3Q Earnings Results

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

By Carl Howe

Our new Analyzing Apple: iPhone Summer Heat report will do a detailed analysis of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) third quarter report next week. But in the meantime, here are three quick reactions I had to yesterday's report (see conference call transcript):

1. Our projection of Apple revenue was dead on. We had projected that Apple would report $5.439 billion in revenue, Apple said it hit $5.41 billion. That means we were $28 million or 0.5% high. While I hate to brag too much, I'll take that error rate any day of the week.

2. We did overestimate iPhone sales. We had predicted that Apple sold 500,000 iPhones the first weekend, yet Apple actually reported selling 270,000 in the first 30 hours, which were the only hours that counted for its fiscal third quarter. But because Apple amortizes the iPhone revenue over 24 months, that overestimate had zero effect on Apple's actual business performance. And to put the 270,000 number in perspective, that meant that Apple was selling 150 iPhones every minute of those 30 hours. That's not shabby at all, even if it wasn't the record-breaking number we had expected. Oh, and even with that lower result, we believe first weekend dollar value still ranks it as the most successful consumer electronics product launch in history.

3. Regardless of the details, Apple's business performance still rocks. Apple had noted that last quarter's 35% gross margin was exceptional and that investors shouldn't expect similar numbers in the future. And in fact, Apple didn't report profit margins along those lines -- it posted better gross margins -- 37% -- than last quarter. Compare the 15% net profit margins Apple is earning to the 6% hardware companies like Hewlett Packard net, and Apple's forward price-to-earnings ratio of 32 seems downright cheap. And you don't have to take my word for it -- Apple stock is up nearly 13 points in after market trading.

Disclosure: Author has a position in AAPL

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