How Apple is squeezing out more profit than ever
Apple's remarkable ability to remain unaffected by seems to be continuing unabated - here's the news story, and Jack mentioned the results too.
The numbers were certainly impressive: $1.21bn of profits on sales of $8.16bn - up significantly on the same time last year.
However, it's pretty hard to get an idea of what those numbers mean in context - so we've plotted the company's financials on a graph to show you how Apple's been performing in recent years.
As you can see, the numbers follows a pretty straightforward pattern - a slow increase throughout the year, followed by a drastic jump over the period that covers Christmas. Then things come down again, continuing the upward trend.
Keeping an eye on revenues (the blue line) there did appear to be a little flattening of growth last year - the spike in December 2007 was huge, largely on the back of the iPhone and iPod Touch. However, it's interesting to notice that the pink line (profits) doesn't move as drastically in comparison to the ups and downs of revenue. It carries on rising relentlessly - and actually at a greater pace than the revenues do.
What this shows is that Apple has bigger profit margins today than it did three years ago. You can see that revenues have gone up from $4.36bn for this period in 2006 to $8.16bn for the last three months - that's an increase of 87%. Meanwhile profits have shot up from $410m to $1.21bn, almost three times higher.
How? A significant chunk of this must be down to Apple's immense power in the flash memory market - it is now the world's biggest purchaser - and the economies of scale it can achieve when it's selling tens of millions of iPods each quarter. Plus there's the added bonus of things like the App Store (a 30% cut on each purchase) and deals with mobile phone providers - all of which are relatively new.
In short, when everyone's margins are shrinking, Apple is using its size and power to squeeze more out of the products it's making: no wonder Tim Cook doesn't want to make a netbook.