Apple’s Face-Melting Revenues Come With a Note of Caution

By
Roarrrrr! Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple filed its 10-K statement with the SEC yesterday, covering the fiscal year 2010, and its theme song could be "(Lots) Mo' Money, (A Few) Mo' Problems." No? How about "Steve Jobs Got 99 Problems, But Revenue Ain't One"? "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta"? Fine, never mind. Let's get on with it. Business Insider pulled out some arresting revenue figures in its breathless "15 Amazing Facts About Apple." Slide one: "Apple grew its sales by $22 billion last year. That growth alone is bigger than most companies you've ever heard of. It's also more revenue than the ENTIRE COMPANY generated four years ago." We think Henry Blodget may have accidentally left off a "!!!!!!!!" at the end. To be fair, reading figures like 12,000 new employees and $9.8 billion in in-store sales with only one percent of revenue spent on advertising is liable to give one the vapors in the current economic climate. Nonetheless, despite stellar earnings ($65 billion in the past year) and growth (the company sold 4,583 iPhones per hour), the possibility that the company's gross margins will fall next year had some experts wondering why that would happen the year after its success with the iPad.

Apple shares dipped a slight 1.5 percent this afternoon based on the fact that Apple expects its first-quarter gross margin to drop to roughly 36 percent, which is a little lower than the 37.5 percent Thomson Reuters predicted. Analysts call the projected decrease in margins "a non-issue" because it's a typically cautious projection from its annual earnings statement and because the company predicted the same thing for 2010 due to uncertainty and cost over the introduction of the iPad.

With drooling reviews about the new MacBook Air and a plan to build its own SIM cards and sidestep cell-phone carriers in Europe, things still seem pretty dang optimistic. This really makes us wish we had a time machine to go back and buy Apple stock and not just a shoe box of busted iPods, taunting us with their planned obsolescence. Especially you, U2-engraved red-and-black iPod we got for Christmas. We wish we could trade you in for a Nano.

15 Amazing Facts About Apple [Business Insider]
Apple’s 10-K Filing Reveals Exciting Product Potential in 2011 [GigaOm]
Apple Dips on Outlook for 2011 Reduced Margins [ABC]