One last note about Apple's fourth quarter numbers: Apple TV is providing no juice.
No big surprise there. But if you look at where Apple is getting the $3.8 billion difference between its officially reported $7.9 billion of sales, under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and its "new numbers" that show $11.8 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, under not generally accepted principles (Non-GAA), Apple TV had zero impact.
The two product lines that contributed to the $3.8 billion difference were Apple TV and the iPhone, both of which are usually recognized under "subscription accounting" principles. That is to say, revenue and costs from these lines are spread out over 24 equal installments (months), when a sale is made.
And here's how you know Apple TV did not contribute to Steve Jobs' enthusiasm over this new set of numbers that were reported to the public for the first time Tuesday.
Non-GAAP net sales were $11,682 million. GAAP sales were $7,895 million. Difference: $3,787 million.
Here's the chart:
You can also look at the growth in deferred revenue. Total deferred revenue from iPhone and Apple TV on June 28 was $2,021 million. Total deferred revenue at Sept. 27 was $5,780 million. Difference: $3,759 million.
Overall deferred revenue from all sources was $4,063 million at end of June. Overall deferred revenue at end of September was $7,882 million. Difference: $3,819 million.
Here's that chart:
Here's how you know.
If you took all the iPhone sales in the fourth quarter (using the Non-GAAP approach), Apple would have recorded $4.6 billion in iPhone sales. Under subscription accounting (and GAAP), it took only $806 million.
The difference (with rounding): $3,794 million.
Clearly, the iPhone, after 15 months, is totally hot and the Apple TV, after 25 months, is flat cold.