Earnings Call: Jobs Says iPhone Revs Total $4.6B, Making Apple The Third-Largest Handset Maker

This story was written by Tricia Duryee.
Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs made a special guest appearance today on the company's earnings call to brag about the iPhone's stellar fourth-quarter performance, and to give his two-cents on how the consumer-electronics and computer company will be affected by the economic crisis as we head into the holiday shopping season. First, Apple's CFO Peter Oppenheimer explained Apple's new practice going forward of reporting non-GAAP financial results. Because the iPhone and Apple TV may provide free updates in the future, they are forced to spread out revenues for the devices over their lifetimes. Going forward, Apple will also report a non-GAAP financial measure that allows people to see how well the iPhone and Apple sales are currently doing. Under this new form of reporting, Oppenheimer said adjusted sales totaled $11.7 billion, or about $3.8 billion higher than its reported revenue, and adjusted net income was $2.4 billion, jumping by $1.3 billion than reported net income. "We believe this adds transparency to our business, and is helpful to you." Oppenheimer said because of the uncertainty in the market, they are going to be prudent in predicting results for the September quarter. He said Apple is targeting revenue of $9 to $10 billion and earnings per share between $1.06 and $1.35.

In a rare appearance, Steve Jobs joined the conference call to provide his outlook on the economy and detail the iPhone's Q4 performance. Jobs: "There's some remarkable things happening at Apple, but now it's all being done in front of the back drop of the economic global slowdown." Here's notes from the call:

-- On iPhone growth: Using the non-GAAP figures, Jobs said in the past quarter, the iPhone business has grown to $4.6 billion, representing 39 percent of Apple's overall revenues. "Clearly, it's too big for Apple or investors to ignore. The non-GAAP results are truly stunning." He said adjusted sales for the quarter are 48 percent higher than GAAP sales, and adjusted net income is 115 percent higher than reported net income. "It's more than double than reported net income...If this isn't stunning than I don't know what is, and it's all because of the success of the iPhone 3G."

-- On volume: Jobs said by selling 6.9 million iPhones during the quarter, Apple was able to beat RIM (NSDQ: RIMM), which sold 6.1 million Blackberry devices. "Apple outsold RIM last quarter. This is a milestone," considering Apple has only been in the market for 15 months.

-- Ranking by revenues: Jobs now claims that by revenues, Apple is the third largest mobile phone supplier in the world. Nokia (NYSE: NOK), is No. 1 at $12.7 billion; Samsung is No. 2 at $5.98 billion; Apple is No. 3 at $4.6 billion; Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) is No. 4 at $4.2 billion; LG (SEO: 066570), No. 5, at $3.4 billion; Motorola (NYSE: MOT), No. 6, at $3.2 billion and RIM, No. 7, at $2.1 billion. "It's pretty amazing," but Jobs cautioned that they were able to sell that many by increasing the number of countries to 51 from 6, and that it's unclear if they can sustain that pace.

-- On the App Store: Jobs said tomorrow they will achieve the 200 millionth download from the App store after being available for only 102 days. "This is one area where we have completely changed the value proposition for mobile devices...We've never seen anything like this." Today, the App store has roughly 5,500 apps, which are being distributed in 62 countries. "Competitors are scrambling to copy our app store."

-- On the economy: Jobs told analysts and press on the call that they believe they will do fine because they have have good customers, good products, good employees, and $25 billion in cash and zero debt. Jobs: We will increase our R&D investments because they created some of the best products in the last downturn. "It is an extraordinary opportuity for companies that have the cash."

Release | Earnings Call.

By Tricia Duryee