Apple Ships Record Number of Macs

While the story for Apple over much of the past five years has been the strength of its iPod music player, this time its Macintosh computer line took center stage, posting its best numbers in the 22-year history of the product.

For the Cupertino, Calif. company's fiscal fourth quarter ending September 30, Apple reported a $546 million profit on revenues of $4.84 billion, up from revenue of $3.68 billion and net profit of $430 million in the year-ago quarter.

"This strong quarter caps an extraordinary year for Apple," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Looking forward, 2007 is likely to be one of the most exciting new product years in Apple's history."

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The numbers exceeded analyst expectations; those polled by Thomson Financial had expected sales of $4.66 billion. However, Apple warned that its earnings might be subject to "significant adjustment as a result of a likely restatement of historical results."

Apple shipped 1.61 million Macs in the quarter, beating its previous record of 1.38 million units that it shipped in the first quarter of 2000. Much of the strength came on better than expected sales of its Intel-based portables, which topped 1 million in shipments, Apple said.

These numbers were an increase of 30 percent year-over-year, Apple said. Additionally, the numbers were up 21 percent from last quarter, previously the company's second best performance for its line of desktop and laptop computers.

Company-owned stores are contributing to the rapid growth in Mac sales. Apple said that 320,000 of the Macs were sold there, and over 50 percent of them were new to the platform it said.

On the iPod side, shipments began to cool after years of exponential growth. The company said it shipped 8.729 million iPods, up 35 percent year ago quarter, though up only 7 percent from the previous quarter.

Although the sales of the music player may have not been as impressive as it has in the past, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer took an indirect shot at Microsoft's Zune by saying the company is "very confident in our new lineup, despite increased competiton this holiday season."

Apple did not say which periods will require financial restatement due to the mishandling of stock options, which Jobs apologized for earlier this month. The company had backdated options granted to some employees, making them immediately valuable and in the process violating SEC reporting regulations.

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