This last week, Apple announced their 2011 Q2 numbers. Philip Elmer-DeWitt, whose Fortune Tech Apple 2.0 blog I enjoy and recommend, provides a crisp summary:

• Sales: $24.67 billion, up 82.8% year over year
• Profits: $5.99 billion, up 95%
• EPS: $6.40, up 92%
• iPhone: 18.65 million units, up 113% (!)
• iPhone sales up 155% in the U.S., thanks in part to Verizon, and up 250% in greater China
• iPad: 4.69 million units, compared with 7.33 million in Q1.
• iPad sell-through was 5.1 million units, given the decline in inventory
• Mac: 3.76 million units, up 28%. Asia-Pacific Mac sales up 76%.
• iPod: 9.02 million units, down 17%. More than 50% iPod touch
• iTunes store: Sales of $1.4 billion
• Gross margin: 41.4%, compared with guidance of 38.5%
• Apple stores: 71.1 million visitors, up 50%
• Store sales: $3.19 billion, up 90%
• Cash and marketable securities: $65.8 billion, up from 59.7 in Q1
• Revenue guidance for Q3: $23 billion
• EPS guidance for Q3: $5.03
• Gross margin guidance for Q3: 38%

For a more discursive and animated survey, Brian Hall’s News Wrap on $AAPL quarterly earnings is sprinkled with salty comments about other bloggers and media outlets. You needn’t agree with everything Brian writes, form or substance, but if you want to follow what he rightly calls The Destruction of Everything by the smartphone wave, his postings at The Smartphone Wars Community are required reading. Often insightful, never boring.

Another favorite with a wide readership and great comment threads: Horace Dediu’s Asymco. After Apple’s earnings release, Horace evaluated his own performance and gave himself a sober B. (He usually deserves an A, but chose to downgrade himself for his 10% overestimate of iPod shipments and for whiffing the iPad number–more on that later.)

Such honesty is remarkable. Philip Elmer-DeWitt gives Horace a tip of his hat while savaging Wall Street pros’ forecasting performance: “Most professional analysts blew it in Q2, but you wouldn’t know it from their postmortems.” Fun reading, especially if you hold cynical views of Wall Street earnings forecasts and whisper numbers games. (More exhaustively cruel and graphic details of the pros’ rout can be found in this additional Apple 2.0 post.)

Speaking of misses, Business Insider looked at preliminary comScore numbers in early April and proclaimed the iPhone Dead In Water. Even with iPod Touches thrown in, ‘‘Apple share has actually fallen.” Less than three weeks later we get fresh comScore numbers for the US:

Initial research indicates that Apple’s iOS platform, which resides on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, has a combined platform reach of 37.9 million among all mobile phones, tablets and other such connected media devices, outreaching the Android platform by 59 percent.

(These are the numbers Apple’s COO Tim Cook referred to in the April 20th conference call covering the company’s Q2 earnings. Seeking Alpha provides a transcript of the call as well as the animated Q&A.)

comScore has equally interesting numbers for Europe:

Initial research indicates that Apple’s iOS platform, which resides on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, has a combined platform reach of 28.9 million users in the five European markets, outreaching the Android platform by 116 percent.

The link above yields interesting demographics, parsing Mobile, Smartphone and iPad users by gender and six age classes:

… the heaviest skew toward 25-34 year olds (23.4 percent) in relation to the total mobile audience (17.3 percent). iPads also exhibited an above average skew in the 18-24 year old age segment.

Regard Asia. In China the iPhone is +250% year-to-year (vs. +155% in the US). The number is especially interesting because this ought to be where iOS goes to die, snuffed out by a swarm of locally produced cheap handsets running Android or its mutant cousins Tapas and Ophone. You’ll recall Stephen Elop, currently Nokia’s CEO, cautioning against aggressively priced MediaTek based Android devices in his Burning Platform memo.

Instead, Chinese customers appear to insist on The Real Thing. We now hear that the Shanghai Apple Store does more volume than the historic 5th Avenue location, with a new store, China’s largest, in the works.

(Let’s pause a moment to pay tribute to Bernard Cywinski, of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, who recently passed away. Among his firm’s portfolio: Apple Stores and Pixar’s HQ.)

The Mac numbers are smaller but no less interesting. Sure, more than half of Apple’s revenue — and certainly more than half of its profits — come from iOS devices, but the Mac keeps growing faster than the rest of the PC industry…for the 20th quarter in a row. See this Apple Insider piece from which I extract the following tables:

A couple of observations. First, IDC and Gartner have substantial disagreements, such as – 42% vs. – 25% for Acer. Second, Mac unit sales grew by 28%, not 9.6% (IDC) or 18.9% (Gartner). Admittedly, the + 28% number is Apple’s worldwide number, but the US, which includes a majority of retail sales, represents more than 40% of total revenue. Mac sales growth in the US isn’t likely to deviate much from the overall + 28% figure. Caveat IDC vel Gartner emptor.

Regarding the iPad “miss” – 4.7 million vs. much higher (and justified) expectations — the most likely explanation is a series of supply problems or, as Apple’s CFO puts it, The Mother Of All Backlogs. I’ll wait for this quarter, ending in June, to draw conclusions. Q3 FY 2011 numbers will emerge just after Bastille Day…

(The Good Technology Activation Report, a downloadable PDF, provides more food for thought about the iPad and other devices.)

Apple’s Operating Expenses are less remarked upon but, as an ex operating guy, they’re worth the trip to the SEC filing known as “10-Q”. As always, most of the “good stuff” is in the MD&A, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Here we see the big picture: Revenue and unit numbers, by geography and product, complete with 3 and 6 months year-to-year comparisons:

Then there’s Revenue and Gross Margin:

…Operating Income by Segment:

…and Operating Expenses:

These last figures are striking. How did Apple squeeze R&D down to 2% of revenue when Microsoft is closer to 15%? Part of the answer is having a large denominator: lots of revenue. Another part is that they have fewer products than any other comparable company. Still, 2% is an astonishingly low number and, curiously, one that is rarely remarked upon on Wall Street — or anywhere else — when discussing competition between high-tech companies.
The same applies to the SG&A (Sales, General and Administrative) expense number: only 7%. I don’t know of a tighter and, as the same time, more prosperous ship.

(Those percentages get even lower if, as some analysts do, you exclude Stock-Based Compensation. Look inside the 10-Q for more details.)

In comparison, HP’s latest 10-Q provides the following figures for its PC business in Q1 FY 2011 (ending in March):

The world’s largest PC maker gets a meager 6% operating income out of its $10.4B product revenue, while Apple’s overall number is 31.9%. Mac revenue for the quarter, $4.98B, is only 50% of HP’s, and we know Macs are less profitable than iPhones, but if we assume 25% operating income for Apple’s personal computers…that’s $1.2B in Mac operating income, almost twice as much as HP’s.

That makes Apple the most profitable PC maker… and smartphone, MP3 player and tablet maker as well.

As for the Apple TV “hobby”, the newer $99 version is doing well: 1.8 million sold. Which would be a lot more than the Google TV products from Logitech and Sony. Still, that’s less than $200M revenue. Let’s see what happens when it gets a new, faster processor for full 1080p rendering. Even more important, as the new Apple TV runs on iOS, the company will have to decide if, when and what iOS apps make sense on a TV screen. Games? Some Web content?

One more surprising tidbit. The retail business grew 90% year-to-year, to $3.19B for the quarter. Apple execs have begun to make noises about celebrating one billion Apple Stores visitors. That’s nice — but it’s not the surprise. Reading through the 10-Q, it appears that revenue per store grew more slowly (+ 67%) than Apple overall (+ 82.8%). Operating income is stable at 25.3% of revenue, versus 25.9% in Q1 FY 2011 — it was 22% the same Q2 quarter a year ago.

For more Apple Stores margins kremlinology, see this January 23rd, 2011 Monday Note.

Also, Apple opened no store this past quarter, ending with 323 outlets. (I checked the previous quarter’s 10-Q… 323 stores. Full-time equivalent employees grew insignificantly, 500 employees, from 29,700 at the end of Q1, to 30,200 at the end of Q2 FY 2011. Lease commitments, on the other hand, grew by about 15%, from $1.7B to $2B.)

I’ll add to this my own limited observations of changes made to some stores: fewer SKUs, meaning less third-party hardware and software on the shelves, and more space dedicated to sitting down with the new Mac (or iPhone/iPad) purchaser to make sure they leave the store “fully functional.” At first glance, this appears to be a time, space, and manpower drain, but the upfront investment saves time and aggravation down the line. Customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth will improve. I’ll speculate Apple put a temporary hold on new stores while reworking its formula and the ensuing physical layout.

When we turn to software, however, the picture isn’t quite as rosy.

Apple’s iWork applications are getting long in the tooth. I’m happy to write this Monday Note on Pages, but for my French-language Note du Lundi, Pages doesn’t seem to know how to switch basic punctuation rules. Microsoft Word does. And while Keynote is slick and “magical,” allegedly the apple of Dear Leader’s eye, Microsoft has made great improvements to PowerPoint. Poor text rendering used to be a PowerPoint dead giveaway. No longer. One wonders if Apple is committed to its desktop productivity apps or if it has decided to give Microsoft the reins, freeing troops for more urgent iOS tasks.

As for iWeb, Apple’s simple and elegant Website design app, the program lies fallow in the latest iLife ’11 — no changes, no updates.

The most worrisome part is the Cloud. In 2008, Apple relaunched MobileMe as “Exchange For The Rest Of Us,” an overly ambitious characterization that was quickly withdrawn. At the time, my criticism of MobileMe garnered me a robust on-line beating at the hands of a faithful (and otherwise learned) blogger. MobileMe has improved, slowly, but still surprises users with strange hiccups and symptoms of poorly connected “silos.” One gets the feeling that Apple still doesn’t “get” the Cloud. Is it a localized people problem or, more dangerously, a matter of culture?

We keep hearing there’ll soon be a new and improved MobileMe, that there’s this giant data center ready to go, that Apple snared a Cloud guru from Microsoft (?).

We’ll see…

JLG@mondaynote.com

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