The news was nearly all sunshine during Apple's fourth-quarter 2014 earnings call on Monday, with sluggish iPad sales the one black spot on the otherwise blazing sun of record-setting revenue. You can listen to the whole call, including the question-and-answer session with analysts, but if that doesn't sound like the most riveting way to spend an hour, don't worry: these are the things that you need to know.
Apple can't make iPhones fast enough
Apple sold 39.2 million iPhones last quarter, which is up 12 percent from the third quarter of 2014, and up 16 percent year-over-year. Tim Cook said the launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was the company's fastest, most successful rollout to date, and pointed out multiple times: "We're selling everything that we're making."
When peppered with questions from the analysts on how the iPhone 6 was comparing to the 6 Plus, and if Apple felt they guessed correctly on the mix of SKUs supplied to the retail channels, Cook kept having to repeat himself that it's hard to tell when Apple is selling all the phones they're making. "I've never felt so great after a launch before," he quipped. "Maybe that's the best way to summarize it all."
Mac sales are strong
This was an insanely great quarter for Apple's Mac business, with 5.5 million sold, an increase of 25 percent from Q3 2014 and a year-over-year increase of 21 percent over Q4 2013. "On the Mac, it was a blowaway quarter, our best ever. It will result in our highest market share since 1995. The back-to-school season voted, and the Mac won, and carried the day. And I'm really proud of that. Being up 21 percent in a market that's shrinking, it just doesn't get any better than that."
Apple isn't worried about iPad sales
The one dark spot was iPad sales, which slipped a bit. Apple sold 12.3 million iPads during the quarter, which is down 7 percent from the previous quarter and 13 percent year-over-year. Still, Cook expressed a positive attitude about the iPad business. "I know there's negative commontary in the market," he explained, "but I have a different perspective."
Cook is talking about the bigger picture: Apple has sold 237 million iPads in just over four years. "That's twice as many iPhones sold in the first four years." In the last 12 months, Apple sold 68 million. In all of fiscal year 2013, the company sold 71 million, so that's a decrease but not as dramatic as if you only look at the quarter. "I view it as a speed bump and not a huge issue," said Cook. "That said, we want to grow. We don't like negative numbers on these things."
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