Apple reports the best non-holiday quarter in its history

Another Apple earnings report, another vacation from dreary recession news in the Cupertino Reality Field: The company reported on Wednesday its best non-holiday quarter in history this afternoon, with year-to-year sales of iPods and iPhones up 3% and 123% respectively. The company posted Q2 '09 revenue of $8.16 billion and a net profit of $1.21 billion, working out to $1.33 per share.

The company reported 9% year-over-year revenue growth, and an operating margin of 20.4%.

Those spendy little toys are doing rather better than the spendy big ones, as Mac sales were down 3% year-to-year. (Analysts had predicted flat Mac and iPod sales, and as CFO Peter Oppenheimer pointed out it did release the MacBook Air in Janary of last year.) That represents 2.2 million Macs; 11 million iPods were sold, and 3.79 million iPhones. 46% of sales were in international markets. Overall, consumer sales are holding up better than those to professional or educational organizations, especially whe you factor in sales of the low-end $999 MacBook.

The mood on the call was ebullient, as the company expects the one billionth iPhone application download sometime tomorrow. ("Any second now," as Oppenheimer put it.) Cook took a moment to carp at the CDMA mobile-phone standard, stating that Apple prefers to concentrate on "the whole world," meaning nations preferring GSM. That would also mean China; there's no news to tell yet, but the company says it hopes to enter that market within the next year.

Hey, netbook fans and manufacturers? You're all suckers -- for now, anyway. Asked by an analyst what he made of the network market, Tim Cook described them as "a stretch to call a personal computer," citing "cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens..." That said? "We have some interesting ideas in this space," and he noted that they're selling. For now, he recommended that purchasers consider instead the iPhone or iPod iTouch [both known for their top-notch keyboards... oh, wait. -- AG].

And Steve Jobs? Back at the end of June. Next question. Also, nothing to say about the Pre (even after all that patent talk last term? asked one analyst, garnering a cautiously worded reply about how Apple "believes" its products to be ahead of all competitors' offerings), and no update on construction of the new headquarters. ("We're spending all our energy on the construction of new products," the company added.)

Looking ahead, the seasonal bite in the financial shorts that tech habitually experiences isn't likely to miss the company entirely, as guidance for Q3 indicates; the company's predicting earnings per share of between 95 cents and $1.

That's interesting news, since it may hint that the rumored June iPhone release isn't in the cards. (The 3.0 operating-system release is still apparently on target for summer.) On the other hand, Cupertino is traditionally conservative in its guidance, and being sly with their Q2 number could entice a journalist, for instance, to speculate wrongly on iPhone ship dates.

Apple was up about 4% in after-hours trading after closing the day at $121.51.

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