Apple makes record profits as iPhones fly off the shelves

The company continued its remarkable growth in the last three months - despite Steve Jobs' absence.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 25 Aug 2011
If you thought anyone who could possibly use an iPhone already had one, apparently you’re very much mistaken. Apple’s latest figures showed that sales (of iPhones, plus other devices) soared by 82%, to $28.6bn (£17.7bn). As you might expect, profits were up, too, to $7.31bn – a 125% year-on-year rise, which is a record for the company. It’s hardly unusual for Apple to ‘shoot the lights out’, or whatever it is our US chums like to say. But it does suggest two things: 1) Apple can function perfectly well even in co-founder Steve Jobs’ absence; and 2) the general public’s appetite for shiny things with touch-screens just cannot be satiated…

Indeed, Apple sold 20m iPhones last year – smashing forecasts of just 17m – and that’s without the hype surrounding a new version, which is usually released around June, but has been pushed back this year to September. It also sold 9.25m iPads, and 4m Mac computers (which was, admittedly, shy of expectations). The only disappointment was iPod sales, which fell by 20% to 7.54m units – although that’s probably because people are putting their music on their iPhones instead.

So it looks like Apple/analysts’ concerns over whether the company could function sans CEO Steve Jobs, who has been on extended sick leave since January, were groundless. Until now, the board has kept schtum about succession plans (fair enough – after all, Jobs isn’t out just yet). But just to stir things up a little, the Wall Street Journal reported today that not only have members of Apple’s board been discussing a succession plan, but they’ve actually already approached a potential candidate for Jobs’ replacement – the head of another ‘high-profile’ technology company. Jobs, however, says this is ‘hogwash’. So who knows?

The other concern it puts paid to is that supply problems following the Japanese earthquake would affect sales of iPad 2s. Seems like it’s quite the opposite, in fact: they’re flying off the shelves as fast as Apple can make them. That’s also good news for UK chip designer ARM: it’s been given something of a boost by Apple’s success, with its share price up by just under 5% to 611p this morning. So this isn’t just a US success story…

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