Apple releases Q4 2013 numbers, shows $7.5 billion profit, but relatively flat year-over-year sales

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Date: Tuesday, October 29th, 2013, 02:06
Category: Finance, News

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A US$7.5 billion quarter is nothing to sneeze at, but the sales were a bit flat compared to a year ago.

Per Macworld, Apple wrapped up its 2013 fiscal year Monday with a US$7.5 billion profit on US$37.5 billion in revenue, reporting accelerating growth buttressed by strong iPhone sales and growth in the Chinese market. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, iPhone sales were up, iPad sales were flat, and Mac sales were down.

Apple announced that its revenues in its fiscal fourth quarter (ending September 28) were up four percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. That was good enough to once again beat most analyst estimates. But year-over-year profits fell eight percent.

The iPhone continued to be the prime mover in Apple’s fiscal world. The company said it sold 33.8 million iPhones—a record for the September quarter—compared to 26.9 million in that quarter last year. iPad unit sales were relatively flat at 14.1 million, up 100,000 from the year-ago quarter. And once again, Mac unit sales were down year-over-year, from 4.9 million in last year’s fourth quarter to 4.6 million this year. (Mac unit sales were lower every quarter this year compared to the same quarter the year before.) In fact, revenues from all Apple product lines except for the iPhone and for iTunes, software, and services were down year-over-year.

The good quarterly sales for the iPhone were no doubt goosed by the introduction of the iPhone 5s and 5c, which famously sold nine million units all by themselves in their debut weekend. The new iPhones were on sale for the last nine days of the quarter. Overall, iPhone unit sales were up eight percent over the previous sequential quarter, and up 26 percent over the year-ago quarter.

For the overall fiscal year 2013, iPhone net sales rose 13 percent (from US$80.4 billion to US$91.3 billion). At the same time, iPhone unit sales climbed 20 percent (125 million to 150 million). Overall, iPhone contributed 53 percent of Apple’s revenues, up 51 percent in 2012 and 43 percent in 2011; iPhones contributed more than half of all Apple revenues in every quarter of 2013.

iPad sales for the year were a mixed bag: While unit sales were up robustly (climbing 21 percent, from 58.3 million tablets to 71 million), net sales rose more anemically, from US$30.9 billion to just under US$32 billion. That revenue reduction can likely be chalked up to the introduction of the lower-cost iPad mini last fall. (With the introduction of the new-model iPad Air and iPad mini, due to ship in November, Apple’s next quarter will likely be quite impressive on the iPad front.)

Mac sales actually declined for the fiscal year as a whole. Unit sales dropped 10 percent in 2013 compared to the 2012 fiscal year (from 18.1 million to 16.3 million); net sales fell 8 percent (from US$23.2 billion to US$21.4 billion). Remember that there were actually very few Mac product introductions in 2013, beyond some tweaks to the MacBook Air line. Yet, as Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer pointed out in the conference-call with analysts that accompanied the release of the results, the Mac has increased its share of the PC market in 29 of the past 30 quarters. In a rapidly shrinking market, a slow loss can look like growth.

The iPod is still selling, but in such relatively insignificant quantities that it doesn’t even merit a mention in Apple’s earnings call. That could be because it’s contributing just 3 percent of Apple’s overall revenues these days.

Much of Apple’s business is seasonal, spurred on by fall product announcements and massive holiday-quarter sales. But there’s one part of Apple’s business that just keeps growing, quarter by quarter, seemingly impervious to seasonal fluctuations. It’s the iTunes/Software/Services revenue line, which has grown more or less continuously every quarter. For the most recent quarter, it generated 4.26 billion dollars, up from 3.5 billion in the year-ago quarter. iTunes/Software/Services revenue has doubled in size in the past three years, from US$2.15 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

Apple’s retail segment is most definitely a seasonal business, but it’s showing strong growth. In fiscal 2012 Apple’s retail outlets generated US$15 billion in revenue; in fiscal 2013 that number wasUS $20 billion.

During Monday’s conference call, one analyst commented that Apple was one of the very few companies he was tracking to show strong growth in China this past quarter. Indeed, while Apple’s revenue in the Americas was actually down from the previous sequential quarter, many other key Apple segments showed sequential growth, most notably China and Japan.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to release Q4 earning results today, analysts looking for company to beat its own guidance

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Date: Monday, October 28th, 2013, 09:31
Category: Finance, News

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Apple’s Q4 financial results are due in via a conference call today and according to 9to5Mac and Fortune, more than half of the analysts included in Fortune’s survey expect the company to beat its high-end guidance of $37B. The average is driven up by the amateurs, who come in at US$37.38B, while the professionals expect just a touch under the top end at US$36.95B.

Predictions on both revenues and earnings do vary markedly, however. While the consensus view is that year-on-year revenues will be up 3 percent and earnings down 6 percent, even among the professionals the earnings estimates span a 15 percent range.

Apple beating its own guidance wouldn’t have been remarkable in the days when Apple gave absurdly pessimistic guidance and then blew it away, but would be impressive since Cook started offering realistic ranges …

Apple began offering realistic guidance this year, offering a range running from what it has “reasonable confidence” of achieving to what it “believes” it will do. In Q2, Apple slightly beat its high-end guidance of US$41-43B with revenues of US$43.6B, while in Q3 it came in just below its top-end number at US$35.3B.

The official launch of the iPhone in China is the big unknown in the equation, with some big numbers being bandied about, but no hard data.

It’s also likely that supplies of iPhone 5s models will play a large role in the numbers. Demand was extremely strong, but production was struggling to keep pace with the gold model in particular, whose popularity appeared to have taken Apple by surprise.

The earnings will be broadcast at 2 PM PT/5 PM ET via this link.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

OnyX updated to 2.7.4

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Date: Monday, October 28th, 2013, 09:33
Category: News, Software

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Even a small update helps a bit.

OnyX, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.7.4. The new version, a 23.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Utilities > Visibility pane improved.

OnyX 2.7.4 requires an Intel-based processor and OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

iOS 7 daylight savings time bug located, Calendar program affected

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Date: Monday, October 28th, 2013, 09:49
Category: iOS, News, Software

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On the upside, at least they know about this bug and can deal with it.

Per AppleInsider, owners of iOS devices running the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system awoke to a display error in iOS 7′s calendar app caused by the switch to daylight saving time.

Several users have reported the line indicating the current time is displaced by one hour in the calendar app — for example, at 12:15 p.m., the calendar app draws the “current time” line in the slot for 1:15 p.m., despite displaying the correct time beside the line and in the system notification bar.

The bug reportedly does not affect scheduled alarms or calendar events, the times for which are adjusted properly.

Time zone support is a recurring issue for Apple’s software and operating systems. In 2010, iOS 4 contained a bug that did not properly shift alarm schedules when Daylight Savings Time ended, causing some European iPhone owners to miss appointments or wake up late for work, while Australians were woken up early.

In 2011, another iOS 4 bug caused non-recurring alarms to be disabled when clocks ticked over to January 1, 2011. Apple eventually fixed both issues.

If you’ve seen this bug on your end, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.5 Supplemental Update 1.0 for late-2013 iMacs

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Date: Friday, October 25th, 2013, 10:49
Category: iMac, News, Software

Better this came out now than wait a while…

On Friday, Apple released its OS X Supplemental Update 1.0 for its late-2013 iMac lineup. The firmware update, a 17.9 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Fixes an issue that may cause external drives to be ejected after the computer goes to sleep.

- Fixes an issue that may prevent certain USB Bluetooth adapters from working.

The update requires a late-2013 iMac running OS X 10.8.5 or later with NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics to install and run and can also be downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the update with your new iMac and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iFixit completes teardowns of late-2013 MacBook Pro notebooks, finds significant changes

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Date: Friday, October 25th, 2013, 10:56
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

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The new late-2013 MacBook Pro teardown is complete.

And iFixit found some pretty nifty stuff in there.

Per AppleInsider and iFixit, the company has completed full teardowns of the 13-inch version of Apple’s latest Retina MacBook Pro lineup as well as the 15-inch version. The 13-inch version apparently benefited the most from Haswell’s focus on power efficiency, reducing the number of fans in the clamshell casing from two to one, according to iFixit. The reduction is likely one of the primary reasons Apple was able to shrink the smaller notebook’s vertical cross-section to match its larger sibling’s 0.71 inch thin profile.

Both the 13- and 15-inch variants sport a new, streamlined heatsink which combines the thermal pads for the CPU and GPU. Previously, each chip – in models with discrete GPUs — had its own thermal pad, and the two were connected to the fans via heat pipes.

The repair site also noted that the headphone jack is now soldered directly onto the logic board, rather than connected via a ribbon cable or wire. Since the headphone jack is one of the few parts in the laptops that is subjected to repeated wear and tension, it makes replacing the port expensive.

In addition to the structural changes, both units feature faster PCIe-based storage, which comes in the form of a replaceable daughtercard. The laptops’ other elements, including the display construction and battery placement, remain largely the same.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new notebook or have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Dropbox updated to 2.4.4

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Date: Friday, October 25th, 2013, 10:23
Category: News, Software

This could come in handy for your Windows or Boot Camp partition…

On Friday, Dropbox released version 2.4.4 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 32.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed memory leak in Windows.

Dropbox 2.4.4 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple TV 6.0.1 update goes live, now available for download

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Date: Thursday, October 24th, 2013, 23:48
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

There’ve been updates galore this week…and this is one of them.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday released a new Apple TV software update, bringing the set-top streamer’s firmware up to version 6.0.1.

Apple’s latest Apple TV version 6.0.1, dubbed build 11B511d, comes one day after the company rolled out a dedicated channel for iMovie Theater, the new video sharing feature that debuted with iMovie for iOS and Mac on Tuesday.

As the update has yet to hit Apple’s Support Downloads webpage, it is unknown what changes were made to the software. A quick look reveals no major user interface or content additions, suggesting version 6.0.1 is a point update that deals with backend fixes and performance improvements.

In September, a major release added support for iTunes Radio and AirPlay over iCloud.

Apple TV version 6.0.1 is available now as an over-the-air download for second- and third-generation devices.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple, Adobe sandbox Flash Player development for OS X versions

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Date: Thursday, October 24th, 2013, 22:00
Category: News, security, Software

When in doubt, sandbox the sucker.

Per Mac|Life, Adobe announced on Wednesday that the latest version of the Safari web browser included with OS X Mavericks now features app sandboxing for Flash Player, following similar moves with browsers from Google, Microsoft and Mozilla.

Although Flash Player has been sandboxed for some time, for whatever reason Apple didn’t get on board with Safari until version 7.0, which is included with this week’s update to OS X Mavericks.

“For the technically minded, this means that there is a specific com.macromedia.Flash Player.plugin.sb file defining the security permissions for Flash Player when it runs within the sandboxed plugin process,” explains Adobe Platform Security Strategist Peleus Uhley.

“As you might expect, Flash Player’s capabilities to read and write files will be limited to only those locations it needs to function properly. The sandbox also limits Flash Player’s local connections to device resources and inter-process communication (IPC) channels. Finally, the sandbox limits Flash Player’s networking privileges to prevent unnecessary connection capabilities.”

The bottom line is that viewing Flash Player content will now be safer and more secure for Safari users on OS X Mavericks, thanks to the combined work of Adobe and Apple, who not so long ago were on opposite sides of the track when it came to Flash technology.

If it makes it more secure, then godspeed…

Apple unveils new Mac Pro units, announces December ship date

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 10:34
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News

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Apple’s new Mac Pro desktop has been revealed.

And it’s kinda pricey.

Per AppleInsider, Apple took the wraps off the last unannounced details on its upcoming Mac Pro desktop, namely price and release date at yesterday’s press event, with the professional-grade machine set to debut in December with a starting price of US$2,999.

The new Mac Pro is one-eighth the volume of the previous Mac Pro. It features Xeon E5 processors of up to 12 cores, as well as AMD FirePro graphics.

It also sports next-generation flash with a PCIe controller with up to 1.2GB/s reads, 1.0GB/s writes, and up to 1-terabyte capacity. Thunderbolt connectivity offers 20Gb/s throughput.

The new Mac Pro can drive up to three 4K displays with HDMI 1.4 support.

A new integrated motion controller also illuminates the input-output on the back when the device is moved.

A revamped version of Final Cut Pro X has also been developed by Apple, designed to take advantage of the horsepower of the new Mac Pro. As part of Tuesday’s presentation, quotes from audio and video professionals praising the device were shared after they had time to sample the hardware pre-release.

The base model of Apple’s next-generation desktop features a 3.7-gigzhertz Intel Xeon E5 processor, 12 gigabytes of RAM, dual FirePro D300 GPUs with 2 gigabytes of video RAM each, and a 256 gigabyte solid state drive.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.