TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: Apple's consistent growth trajectory

The tech giant's spectacular quarterly results show the iPad has achieved in two years what took the iPhone four years, and despite the loss of Steve Jobs, Apple has never been more predictable.

Technology Spectator

For Apple, 2012 started with almost the same growth as 2011 started. Q1 2011 saw earnings growth of 92 per cent and Q1 2012 saw growth of 94 per cent. As the following revenue growth table shows, the pattern for the last twelve months has been very consistent.

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Here are some notes:

The iPad is growing at a faster rate than the iPhone and has achieved in two years what the iPhone took four.

The iPhone grew units at nearly 90 per cent and revenues at 85 per cent. This is slightly below the quarterly average over the last two years of 99 per cent.

The Mac showed significant weakness though the previous year’s Q1 had exceptionally high growth of 32%. The Mac still grew faster than the market and therefore gained share.

The iPod is declining consistently. Units showed a lesser decline than revenues as the average price dropped from $164 to $157.

The iTunes store continues to grow very rapidly, reaching a new record level above $2.1 billion revenues.

Peripherals were weak with 11 per cent growth but that may have something to do with lowered Mac sales.

Software had good quarter though not exceptional.

The top line grew at nearly 60 per cent which is not exceptional but the bottom line grew at 94 per cent which is above average.

Overall, the company had a very good quarter and showed consistency, which, incidentally, implies predictability. The following graph shows the top and bottom lines in historical context with colour coding matching the table above.

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Horace Dediu is founder and managing director of Asymco, a Helsinki-based app developer/industry analysis advisory firm. You can find his blog here.