Preliminary estimations were right: the end of 2011 was very good for the sale of Apple products, with this translating into a very solid quarter at the end of 2011.
Spectacular demand for the iPhone at the end of 2011, following the launch of the iPhone 4S, suggests that Apple will be able to recover from the weakness seen in the third quarter of 2011 which allowed Samsung to overtake them as the world largest smartphone manufacturer. It is expected that Apple will regain their place as global leader with the launch of the iPhone 4S in China this quarter, with planned events already turning into a debacle following very strong demand.
For the last quarter of 2011, things are not so clear with Apple announcing that they shipped a record 37 million iPhone’s (+ 128% over a year) while shipping estimations for Samsung devices (with the company not releasing precise figures) are around 35 million units.
Despite criticisms of the new iPhone for too closely resembling the previous version, the iPhone 4S nevertheless seems to be up to users expectations, also helped by the fact that Apple widened their distribution network.
Heavy sales volumes Apple could therefore retake their position as global leader of smartphone sales at the end of 2011, and this despite the excellent performance of Samsung’s mobile division. The two companies are neck and neck in leading the industry, with it being possible that legal battles may therefore continue to escalate over the coming quarters.
iPad tablets have also performed well, with Apple announcing that they shipped 15.43 million tablets in the quarter, a 111% improvement over the same period a year before, confirming that their domination of the market continues despite the large number of players present.
Finally, this visibility of mobile products continues to translate into increased Mac sales, with 5.2 million units shipped over the quarter, an increase of 26% compared to the previous year. Only iPod’s continue to see sales drop in a controlled manner, with 15 million devices still sold during the period (-21%).
These very solid sales figures have logically translated into a record quarter profit for Apple, with the company announcing revenue of 46.33 billion dollars for the final quarter of 2011 (compared to 26.74 billion dollars a year ago), for net earnings of 13.05 billion dollars (compared to 6 billion for the corresponding period last year).
The transition from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook in the third quarter of 2011 has for the moment seen no disruption to the company’s success, with the group still greatly benefitting from the end of year sales period at a time when other smartphone manufacturers saw a slowdown or even fall in sales figures.