Apple's CC: iPad sales, margins, M&A, cash balances discussed

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

FQ3 iPad (NASDAQ:AAPL) sales were hurt by channel inventory cuts, Tim Cook states on the CC. He adds emerging markets tablet demand is holding up better than U.S. demand - PC sales have been rebounding in the latter - and that Apple is counting on its IBM partnership to boost business iPad sales; U.S. business penetration is pegged at 20%.

Over half of all iPad buyers are still first-time buyers - that points to both growing penetration and relatively low upgrade rates. The tablet market's growth has slowed considerably in recent quarters.

CFO Luca Maestri states cost improvements contributed to the FQ3 gross margin beat; a mix shift towards iPhones (have higher margins than iPads) also didn't hurt. He hints new products are partly responsible for the conservative FQ4 margin guidance.

Also mentioned: 1) Apple has bought 5 more companies since the end of FQ2. 2) The cash balance rose $13.9B Q/Q to $164.5B; 84% of it is offshore. 3) NAND flash, mobile DRAM, and LCD prices fell in FQ3, while PC DRAM prices rose. 4) iTunes revenue rose 8% to $2.6B.

With iPhone mix shifting towards emerging markets, iPhone ASP fell to $561 from $596 in FQ2 and $637 in FQ1; Cook suggests 5C sales were strong. iPad ASP was $443 vs. $465 in FQ2 and $440 in FQ1. Mac ASP fell to $1,255 vs. $1,334 in FQ2 and $1,322 in FQ1.

AAPL -0.5% AH. CC live blogs: I, II

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