Apple Sells 11 Million iPads in Q4, Dismisses Fire Competition

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Apple announced its financial results for its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter yesterday, and despite record sales, the company failed to meet forecasts. 

Apple iPad 2The fourth quarter, which ended on Sept. 24 for Apple, brought the company a 166 percent increase in iPad sales from over the year-ago quarter, as the Mac maker sold 11.12 million units of the tablet device. Additionally, the Cupertino company sold 17.07 million iPhones, experiencing a 21 percent unit growth from the year-ago quarter. 

With Amazon’s $200 Kindle Fire set to hit markets in November, analysts have been buzzing about the potential threat the low-priced tablet could pose against the iPad. Yet, when asked about the Fire during a Q&A after Apple’s earnings were announced, CEO Tim Cook felt confident in Apple’s ability to compete in its product pipeline, especially with the company’s iOS 5, iCloud, ecosystem and 140,000 native apps. Cook also stated that Apple has seen several competitors try to compete with the iPad, yet none of them have really gained much traction. 

In regards to the tablet market, Cook admitted it has become even bigger than Apple originally thought, and he claimed that it could be even bigger than the PC market. While some consumers opt for an iPad instead of a Mac, according to Cook, more people are buying an iPad instead of a Windows PC. Despite that, Apple experienced the best quarter for Mac sales yet, selling 4.89 million devices, which represents a 26 percent unit increase from a year ago. 

In spite of Apple’s large earnings, the company’s share price is still likely to go down, as it missed analysts’ expectations due to a delayed iPhone release. With rumors originally pegging the next generation iPhone for a late August or early September release, not an October launch, analysts expected a profit of $7.28 per share instead of the company’s $7.05 per share. 

Apple jumped to a gross margin of 40.3 percent, compared to last year’s gross margin of 36.9 percent. Apple also posted a quarterly revenue of $28.27 billion and a quarterly net profit of $6.62 billion, compared to the year-ago revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion.

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