Post-PC era? PAH! Apple says Macs OUTSOLD iPads in Q4

5.5 million OS X machines hauled in more fruity cash than fondleslabs

Peak tablet In case you'd forgotten that Apple is making money hand over fist, the company announced on Monday yet another record financial quarter – thanks to its iPhones and Macs, but no thanks to its iPads.

The House that Steve Built said the fourth quarter of its 2014 financial year – ending September 27 – was its best ever Q4, as Mac and phone sales continued to surge.

The company reported US$42.1bn in revenues from the quarter, up 12 per cent year on year from $37.5bn in 2013, leading to profits of $8.5 billion for the three months, up 13 per cent from $7.5bn a year ago.

Apple reported huge gains from its iPhone unit in Q4: revenue climbed 21 per cent, year on year, to $23.7bn, after shifting 39,270,000 mobiles in the quarter, up 16 per cent on the same period in 2013.

Apple also sold $5.3bn in iPads, down 14 per cent from 2013's $6.17bn, or 12,316,000 tablets, down 13 per cent from 14,079,000 in last year's Q4. The Mac range of computers brought in $6.6bn in sales, up 18 per cent year on year, from 5,520,000 machines sold, up 21 per cent on the year-ago period.

That Macs outsold the iPad, in terms of revenue, is eye-catching: the slabs typically outperform the desktops and laptops. Obviously, the profits from each of the iPad and Mac hauls will be different, but it's an interesting milestone, as for a while the OS X desktops and laptops were in decline. Getting mobile app developers, and other programmers, onto Macs has helped change that, it seems.

iPods still managed to rake in $410m in sales from 2,641,000 units in Q4, down 28 per cent and 24 per cent respectively. Finally, iTunes, software and services were up 8 per cent year on year to $4.6bn, and the rest of the revenue pie came from accessories ($1.486bn, up 13 per cent, year on year).

For those keeping up, that's a 38 per cent gross margin from the quarter, compared to 37 per cent in Q4 2013. That's pretty much the gross margin for the whole year, too, up slightly from 2013's 37 per cent.

Full-year performance

The figures cap off another massive 12 months for the Cupertino giant. CEO Tim Cook said that over the fiscal year, the company took $183bn in revenues, up six per cent from 2013's $170.9bn, after flogging 243 million iOS devices and 19 million Macs.

Cook also noted that the Mac unit continues to grow at a faster rate than the PC market as a whole.

Apple's net income for the 12 months was $39.5bn, up 6.7 per cent on last year's $37bn. The company logged earnings per share of $1.42 for its final quarter of fiscal 2014, ahead of analyst forecasts of $1.31.

The company is hoping that those Mac sales continue to rise on the strength of the new 5K iMacs and beefier Mac Minis unveiled last week, plus the slightly updated iPads won't hurt.

Apple execs say they're not just planning to sit on the massive pile of cash the company continues to generate. The firm said that it sank $45bn into share repurchases over the last year, news that should be music to the ears of activist investor Carl Icahn, a vocal proponent of an Apple share repurchase drive.

Finally, the company estimates that its next quarter, the holiday shopping season, will turn up revenues between $63.5bn and $66.5bn with a gross margin between 37.5 and 38.5 per cent. Apple also reckons it'll spend 26.5 per cent of that revenue on tax in Q1 fiscal 2015. ®

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