First, the stats: Apple posted a record Q3 revenue of $28.57 billion, which is up from the year-over-year revenue of $15.70 billion. Apple also posted a net profit of $7.32 billion, up year over year from $3.25 billion. Gross margin came out to 41.7 percent, up slightly from last year's 39.1 percent. Interestingly, 62 percent of Apple's Q3 revenue was from international sales. Apple CEO Steve Jobs called this latest quarter Apple's "best quarter ever."
How much of what, exactly, did Apple sell to rake in these profits? It wasn't computers -- 47 percent of Apple's revenue came from iPhones alone, with the iPad a close second at 21 percent. That means 68 percent of Apple's sales were of iOS devices. According to Apple, the company sold 20.34 million iPhones, 9.25 million iPads, 7.54 million iPods (Apple didn't distinguish between iPods and iPod Touches) and 3.95 million Macintosh computers. The raw data shows mobile computers outsold desktop computers about 2.5 to 1.
This stellar quarter makes Eric Shmidt's glib comment about Apple "responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations," a bit of a faux pas. It also means Apple's board of directors might want to reconsider its CEO succession strategy (whatever that is), especially if interim-CEO Tim Cook isn't first in line. Apple is doing phenomenally well and its most innovative products are driving its success.
Bigger picture for the technology industry? Take note: Apple is insanely profitable with a (relatively) small group of technologies. Time and time again, the strategy for weathering an economic downtime has been about maintaining value, keeping the core happy and innovating internally. It's fair to say Apple has done precisely these things.
Even with all this success, Apple announced a cautiously conservative outlook for Q4 2011, with Apple's CFO predicting revenue around $25 billion. I'm predicting Apple will exceed this goal with the upcoming holiday season, especially if there is truly a rumored iPad 2 HD and eventual iPhone 5.