Look how far the Mac has come. In 1997, "beleaguered" Apple Computer sold a mere 2.8 million Macs in the entire calendar year. Now, a decade later, Apple has just had its first ever two million Mac quarter (PDF). While doomsayers will no doubt compare the 2.164 million Macs sold last quarter with the number of PCs sold in a fraction of that time, they will be missing the point, as usual. The point is Apple shouldn't be selling any Macs this quarter. Apple was doomed in 1997. The company was bleeding cash and market share to Windows, while the clones were cannibalizing Mac sales. Then came the return of Steve Jobs, and the NeXT-generation OS, and the rest was iHistory. Today, Steve was feeling pretty good about the printing press for money that Apple has become.
"We are very pleased to have generated over $24 billion in revenue and $3.5 billion in net income in fiscal 2007," said Jobs in a statement. "We're looking forward to a strong December quarter as we enter the holiday season with Apple's best products ever."
The two million Mac quarter isn't the only new first, either. Apple laptops outsold desktops by nearly a 2 to 1 margin from June through September. If this trend continues, one wonders about the future of the desktop–or at least the consumer desktop–in the Mac lineup.
The iPhone also exceeded expectations, though that was more likely because of low-balled projections of a million units sold by the end of September, not to mention a price cut. As for iPods, the ceaseless drumbeat of sales goes on, with another solid quarter. It doesn't appear that the iPhone is cannibalizing sales of the iPod Touch, though one could make an argument for the reverse–that the iPod Touch does take sales from the iPhone. Either way, it's money in Apple's pocket.
As usual, sales of the Apple TV were not mentioned, no doubt because they were poor. As someone who lives within driving distance of ten Apple Retail Stores, I have seen the display space allocated for the Apple TV gradually reduced since its introduction. Expect Apple TV sales to come up during the Conference Call, but don't expect an answer. However, there will be an Infinite Loop post shortly after the call ends, detailing all the non-answers: we listen so you don't have to.
The most spectacular quarter in the history of Apple has come to an end. If anyone were bold enough to give advice to the company on future direction today, it likely wouldn't be about products. Apple needs to invest heavily in life extension research. Let the era of the iCEO last a thousand years!