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Apple iPod Boosts Fis. Q4 Revenue 37%

Cupertino, Calif. — Strong fiscal fourth-quarter sales of iPod music players and laptop computers pushed revenue up 37 percent at Apple Computer, hitting $2.4 billion from $1.7 billion in the year-ago period.

Apple recorded a net profit of $106 million in the three months, ended Sept. 25, compared with $44 million in the same quarter last year. These results include an after-tax restructuring charge of $4 million. Excluding the charge, net profit for the fourth quarter would have been $110 million. Gross margin moved up to 27 percent from 26.6 percent.

“We are pleased to report our highest fourth-quarter revenue in nine years,” said Steve Jobs, CEO. Jobs cited the company’s shipping of over 2 million iPods in the three months, up from 336,000 year-over-year, a 500-percent rise. Revenue for iPods in the fourth quarter jumped to $537 million, compared with $121 million in the same three months in 2003. The iPod accounted for 23 percent of Apple’s fourth-quarter overall revenue, compared with 7 percent in the same three months a year earlier.

Apple singled out its iBook and Powerbook computers for their healthy fourth-quarter sales. Revenue for iBooks rose 66 percent to $256 million from last year’s $154 million. Unit movement increased 74 percent to 238,000 from 137,000. Powerbook revenue jumped 20 percent in the fourth quarter, reaching $419 million, up from a year-ago $348 million. Unit movement for Powerbooks increased 21 percent, to 213,000, from 176,000.

As Apple has rapidly morphed from primarily a computer maker to also become an entertainment company, following the success of its iPod line, the company still hasn’t cut off its roots. Apple reported an overall increase in Macintosh computer sales in the fourth quarter, with this figure reaching 836,000 in units, up 6 percent, and $1.23 billion in revenue, up 3 percent. In the same quarter last year, total Macintosh units moved reached 787,000 on $1.2 billion in sales.

The Americas still held the lion’s share of Apple’s business in the fourth quarter, climbing 29 percent to $1.2 billion from $928 million in the same quarter a year ago. Unit shipments in the Americas moved up 4 percent in the quarter to 471,000 from 453,000.

Apple’s retail store revenue jumped 95 percent in the fourth quarter to $376 million from a year-earlier $193 million.

For the 12 months, Apple’s overall revenue increased to $8.3 billion from $$6.2 billion, while net income rose to $276 million, compared with $69 million in the fourth quarter last year.