Apple Q4 2012 hardware sales: By the numbers

Apple's Q4 2012 financial data is out, telling us, among other things, how much hardware the Cupertino technology powerhouse sold over the past quarter. How does this three month period compare to previous quarters?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Apple's Q4 2012 earnings are out, and the data provided gives us an insight into how well the company performed over the last quarter relative to historical data.

Let's start with Apple's flagship product, the iPhone.

The quarter only covers nine days of the iPhone 5 launch, so this is not the favored quarter to expect stratospheric sales. Nevertheless, Apple sold 26.9 million units, making it the iPhone's third best quarter ever (behind the first two quarters of 2012), and up 58 percent on the same quarter a year ago.


Moving on to the iPad, sales of the tablet were lower than analysts had expected, but shifting 14 million units still made this the iPad's third best quarter too (behind Q1 2012 and Q3 2012), and a 26 percent increase over the 11.12 million sold the same period last year.

The introduction of the new iPad 4, along with the iPad mini, is likely to push sales up in the coming first quarter, where traditionally Christmas holiday sales blow all other quarters out of the water. That said, Apple warned of a weaker than expected Q1.


It was also a good quarter for Mac sales. Apple sold 4.9 million Macs, making it Apple's second best quarter (behind theh first quarter), showing a 1 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. 

Strong sales are driven not only by high levels of consumer satisfaction, but also increased adoption of Macs by businesses. The refreshed Mac line up just before the holiday period is likley to translate into strong sales Mac over the next quarter. 


While the iPhone, iPad, and Macs are all selling well, the same cannot be said for the iPod. Apple sold 5.3 million iPods, representing a 19 percent decline on the same quarter a year ago, and marks is Apple's worst quarter for the iPod since early 2005.

The problem with the iPod is that everyone who wants one already has several, and the iPhone, and to a lesser extent the iPad, are taking over. The latter is good for Apple since those two products represent greater profits.


Overall, quarterly sales for the iPhone and iPad are good, showing a strong upward trajectory.


Cumulatively, Apple has sold over 356 million iPods, over 271 million iPhones, and 98 million iPads since its respective products were first released.


It might not be the quarter that analysts were hoping for, but compared to previous quarters, Apple certainly fared well in the three-month period indeed.

The iPad mini and the new iPad 4

Data source: Apple. Images: ZDNet.

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