Tech wrap: Apple raises the earnings bar

April 20, 2011

A shop assistant in Sydney gestures in front of an advertising sign moments before Apple's iPad 2 became available for direct purchase in Australia March 25, 2011.  REUTERS/Tim Wimborne Apple reported quarterly revenue of $24.67 billion on strong iPhone and Mac sales, racing past Wall Street estimates. In the quarter, the company sold 18.65 million iPhones and 3.76 million Macintosh computers. Analysts expected 16.3 million and 3.64 million, respectively. Sales of iPads and iPods fell short. The number of iPads sold was 4.69 million, shy of the 6.3 million expected. Sales of iPods were 9 million, versus expectations of 9.85 million.

Analysts said that the weaker-than-expected iPad sales will not detract from strong long-term demand. “We can attribute some of the weakness to stocking issues at some of the retail outlets and obviously the supply chain issue in Japan,” said Capital Advisors Growth Fund’s Channing Smith.

The next-generation iPhone will have a faster processor, look largely like the iPhone 4 and will begin shipping in September, three people with direct knowledge of the company’s supply chain said.

AT&T survived the loss of its exclusive U.S. rights to sell the iPhone, eking out a slight increase in subscribers in the first quarter and surprising Wall Street, though some analysts said the growth came at too high a cost. The No. 2 U.S. mobile service provider, which is planning to buy T-Mobile USA, had its wireless service profit margin drop to 39 percent from 44.5 percent a year earlier.

Amazon.com said it will start allowing users of the Kindle to borrow e-books from 11,000 U.S. public libraries later this year in its latest move to speed the adoption of its e-reader.

EBay said it will buy Where, a company that delivers local advertising to mobile phones, in its latest push to allow more retailers to do business with customers through its services.

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