Apple has just released its fiscal Q4 2012 earnings, and the consumer computing giant reported generating $36 billion in revenue (compared to $35 billion in Q3, and $28.27 billion in the year-ago quarter).
The company also recorded profits of $8.2 billion (compared to $8.8 billion in Q3, and $6.62 billion in Q4 2011), which works out to diluted earnings of $8.67 per share.
As Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt pointed out earlier today, analysts have been tweaking their estimates in response to CEO Tim Cook’s announcement that the company has sold over 100 million iPads — the implication being that some of their more ambitious iPad sales estimates were off-base. The earlier earnings consensus hovered around an EPS of $8.84 on $36.2 billion in revenue, but ultimately dipped to $8.75 EPS and $35.8 billion in revenue. Apple just barely managed to beat those estimates with regard to revenue, but still missed when it came to earnings — though it should be noted that expectations were all over the place.
As always, Apple’s own forecast for Q4 was considerably more modest — as CFO Oppenheimer noted in last quarter’s release, the company expected to pull in roughly $34 billion in revenue, and diluted EPS of “about $7.65.” With the all-important holiday buying season nearly upon us, Oppenheimer sought to keep expectations in check with yet another “conservative” estimate: the company expects revenues of about $52 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $11.75.”
Apple reported selling a total of 26.9 million iPhones in Q4, a decent little bump from the 26 million iPhones Apple sold in Q3 but still not quite up to Wall Street’s expectations; Fortune pegged the median analyst estimate at roughly 27 million units sold. Still, it represents staggering growth year-over-year for the iPhone — Apple sold a relatively scant 17.07 million iPhones in Q4 2011.
But how many of those were iPhone 5s? Sadly, aside from a self-congratulatory press release noting that “over 5 million” iPhone 5s were sold during the device’s opening weekend, the company has been hesitant to trot out specific numbers and still doesn’t break down iPhone sales by model. As it turns out though, iPad sales were down this quarter at 14 million units sold (Apple sold a whopping 17 million in Q3), though that’s at least partially thanks to the finally-fulfilled rumors of an iPad mini keeping sales at bay.
All things considered this quarter was a mixed bag for Apple, but it’s also essentially the quiet before the storm — the holiday buying frenzy is poised to kick off in earnest in just a few weeks, and (in case you hadn’t noticed) Apple refreshed nearly all of its consumer product lines in one fell swoop just two days ago, including ones that arguably didn’t need fiddling with for a while. The unveilings of the iPad mini, the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and the redesigned iMacs and Mac minis all seemed tailor-made to drive a downright huge Q1 2013 for the company, though the bar has already been set awfully high.
Case in point: Apple raked in an expletive-generating $46 billion in Q1 2012, handily exceeding just about every estimate out there by a fair margin. Before we all get caught up in what may happen down the road though, Apple’s customary earnings conference call is slated to begin at 5:00PM Eastern — keep your eyes peeled for more.