Apple's Shiny Quarter

What a nice time to be an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) shareholder! Not that I am one, but for those of you who are, the company just reported another shiny, shiny quarter.

Apple's accomplishments included record Mac sales, nearly 10 million iPods pushed through the retail channels, and iTunes becoming the third-largest music retailer in the U.S., with a 9.8% market share. Only Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) can lay claim to a larger territory there. (Wait -- what happened to the music stores?)

Oh, but you don't want to read about that, do you? You came here looking for iPhone numbers. That's OK, because I've got some.

For a product that went on sale only 30 hours before the end of the quarter, the iPhone turned in an impressive number of units sold indeed. AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and the Apple retail stores combined to take delivery of 270,000 phones in the quarter, and 146,000 of them were activated by the period's end. Apple hopes to sell a cool million of the things before turning the calendar to October, and 10 million in 2008 alone.

If you thought the iPod success story was impressive, consider that it took nearly two years to sell the first million of those, not one quarter. Given Apple's tendency to offer earnings and sales guidance worthy of a Deal or No Deal? appearance -- low, low, low! -- perhaps we should expect more out of the unit sales forecast as well. If so, that's a spicy item indeed, especially if you look at the intensity of competition in the cell phone market vs. that in the digital music player arena.

I've been churlish toward Apple before, but the various product lines are all proving to be serious growth drivers, and Jobs keeps coming up with new ones. I'm still concerned about what happens once the Great Leader is gone, although that event is likely many years away today, and the stock price keeps rising faster than earnings. So I'm not going to jump in at this point, even with my affinity for Rule Breaking investments. But like I said, it's a great time to already own this stock. Enjoy that shiny new quarter. Heck, call it a silver dollar.

Further Foolishness:

Wal-Mart and Best Buy are two of our Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations, and Best Buy also hangs out on the Stock Advisor scorecard.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like. Foolish disclosure wants to live in an iPhone -- just for a week or two. The other Foolish guidelines would be so green with envy.

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10/21/2016 10:50 AM
AAPL $116.64 Down -0.43 -0.36%
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WMT $68.04 Down -0.70 -1.01%
Wal-Mart Stores CAPS Rating: ***