Apple: Notebook and Tablet Markets Will Not Converge
Apple's stunning growth rate continued during the second quarter of 2012 as iPhone, iPad, Mac and iTunes Store sales hit record levels.
The recipe for Apple's current success isn't one that CEO Tim Cook is about to mess up, either, even as new concepts like Intel's Ultrabook aim to chip away at Apple's dominance.
For the quarter, Apple reported revenue of $39.2 billion, representing year-over-year growth of 59 percent.
"That's a new record for a March quarter and is second only to the all-time record revenue we reported in the most recent December quarter," Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said during the company's earnings call. "The year-over-year increase in the March quarter revenue was fueled primarily by very strong growth in iPhone and iPad sales."
Sales of iPhones hit 35.1 million units during the quarter for an 88 percent year-over-year gain. Sales of iPads hit 11.8 million units for a gain of 151 percent year-over-year. In contrast, Apple sold 4 million Mac desktops and notebooks for a 7 percent year-over-year gain.
The Apple iTunes Store complemented the strong mobile showing with revenue of $1.9 billion in the quarter, for an increase of 35 percent year-over-year with sales of music, videos and apps.
During the earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked if he thought the tablet and traditional notebook computing markets would converge. Intel currently is ramping up its Ultrabook concept, which includes hybrid tablet and notebook designs.
"You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user," Cook said.
Cook stressed that it is Apple's view that the tablet market is huge. The iPad has been successful in the consumer, enterprise and education markets so far and meaningful applications keep being developed. Cook noted that in two years of availability, Apple has sold 67 million iPads.
"To put that in some context, it took us 24 years to sell that many Macs and 5 years for that many iPods and over 3 years for that many iPhones," Cook said. "And we were extremely happy with the trajectory on all of those products."
As iPad shipments accelerate to the point where the number of tablets equal the size of the PC market, some lines of convergence might be crossed, according to Cook.
"Now having said that, I also believe that there is a very good market for the MacBook Air, and we continue to innovate in that product," Cook said.
Cook reiterated, however, that Apple will not compromise and that notebooks have a different set of requirements than tablets.
"Some people will prefer to own both, and that's great, too," Cook said. "But I think to make the compromises of convergence, we're not going to that party. "