Apple Shows Quarterly Profit Boom, Continued iPod Strength

Apple reported heavy profit gains during its recent, fiscal second quarter, a total powered in part by strong iPod gains.

The company disclosed revenues of $5.26 billion, up 21 percent from a total of $4.36 billion during the comparable period last year.  Profits landed at $770 million, or $.87 per diluted share, up nearly 88 percent from year-ago gains of $410 million, or $.47 per diluted share.  “We are very pleased to report the most profitable March quarter in Apple’s history,” said Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer.  Overall iPod sales crossed 10.5 million during the period, a growth of 24 percent over sales levels last year.  The total was powered by strong sales of the low-cost shuffle, though a model breakdown was not provided.  “The iPod shuffle was especially popular, with the addition of four brilliant new colors beginning in late January,” explained Oppenheimer during the Wednesday earnings call.

Overall, iPods and music-related services contributed 44 percent to the larger revenue picture.  Sales from the iTunes Store represent a modest sliver of that total, though Oppenheimer pointed to continued dominance within the paid download arena.  The CFO noted that iTunes carried an 85 percent share of paid downloads during the period, quoting Nielsen Soundscan figures.  The store now offers a catalog of over five million songs, according to the executive, and year-over-year sales jumped 35 percent during the quarter.  Meanwhile, the company also sold more than 1.5 million Macs, a 36 percent gain.  For the current, fiscal third quarter, the company estimated $5.1 billion in total revenues.  The period will include a DRM-free distribution of the EMI catalog on iTunes, a catalog that will position higher-fidelity songs at a premium price tag.