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Forbes: Apple is going to shake up its product lineup


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kaidomac

 
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BURLINGAME, Calif. -

Omertà. Apple usually doesn’t talk about upcoming products. But while Apple employees won't talk, the numbers don't lie: Something's up.

Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) reported a 73% earnings surge for its latest quarter Wednesday, sending Apple shares up more than 8% to $148.10 in after-hours trading despite disappointing earnings guidance for its current quarter. Not that Apple's guidance is worth much — Apple blew past analyst estimates by a full 20 cents a share for its fiscal third quarter.

The explanation for the weak guidance: higher component costs, back-to-school discounts and a mysterious "product transition" will cause Apple earnings to come in lower than expected. Translation: Apple is going to shake up its product lineup.


The hint comes as strong sales of iPods and Macintosh computers — and lower than expected costs for parts such as flash memory — helped Apple rake in $818 million in net income for the three months ending June 30, or 92 cents per share, up from $472.0 million, or 54 cents per share, for the year-ago period. Apple also reported a 23% jump in sales to $5.41 billion.

But while most investors obsessed over iPhone sales, the most telling figure Apple reported was its gross margins. Apple managed to wring out 36.9 cents of profit for every dollar in sales, up from 30.32% during the same period last year. By contrast, Dell (nasdaq: DELL - news - people ) managed just 18.28% percent gross margins and Hewlett-Packard (nyse: HPQ - news - people ) 24.67% in their latest quarters.

That figure could even rise as Apple's iPhone business grows to become a significant chunk of the company's sales. Research firm iSuppli estimates Apple's margins on the device could be more than 50%, excluding certain costs, such as logistics. In its earnings release, Apple promised to sell its millionth iPhone by the end of the current quarter.

Nevertheless, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer told investors to expect earnings to come in at only 65 cents a share for its current quarter, well below expectations of 82 cents a share. After Apple's blowout quarter, at least one analyst wasn't buying it.

"You just guided to 66 cents and came up with 92 cents? Why should I believe it should be 65 cents when you've been so conservative?" UBS's Benjamin Reitzes asked Oppenheimer on a conference call after Apple announced its results.

Oppenheimer gave three reasons for the shift, two prosaic, and one very tantalizing. Apple's back-to-school product promotions will cost the company. Prices are rising for key parts, such as the flash memory that powers the iPhone and many of Apple's music players (See: " A Cure for Memory Headaches: The iPhone?"). Finally, Oppenheimer said, there will be a "product transition I can't get into."

Could that mean Apple is about to introduce some new products? If so, the possibilities include anything from a new version of the iPod music player to fresh versions of its hot-selling notebook computers. With Apple reporting surging sales of both its computers and music players, that would mean the company is about to go from one strength to another.

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brentsax

 
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Well, thank you Forbes for getting my panties all up in a bunch. Now I won't be able to breath until Leopard is released. This release will of course not coincide with a new MBP (which I'm waiting for), but just on the off-chance that El Jobso pulls the trigger, I wait. Oh, and when it doesn't happen, and I purchase my brand new (and 1st) Mac, he will gleefully give us a new MBP lineup two weeks later. What a wonderful world I'm about to enter! Hehe
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handsheldhigh

 
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"Higher Product Costs" and "Product Transition" just makes me hope and hope for Blu-Ray drives...but i might be alone here...
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MMATruman

 
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yep, alone.
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brentsax

 
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Now that I actually think about it though... is Intel, for instance, scheduled to be releasing any new significant product lines? They just released Santa Rosa... I 'spose the new iMacs and Macbooks will probably get some more cpu upgradeage with the faster C2D Extreme (in higher end models) CPUs before we see a major architecture change.

Unless we're about to get a brand new laptop design along w/ a new iMac design, I just don't really see anything significant happening in the portables.
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Skyrider007

 
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OH MY GOD, ive just bought an MBP! I really should hv waited.
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Perhaps we'll finally see some kind of midrange headless Mac? And/or a new low-end machine to replace the Mini? It could just be the new iMac of course.

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kaidomac

 
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Originally Posted by knightlie View Post
Perhaps we'll finally see some kind of midrange headless Mac? And/or a new low-end machine to replace the Mini? It could just be the new iMac of course.
I'm hoping for the former. Or maybe a Gamer's Mini, according to one rumor I love the Mini to death, but we are in sore need of a non-iMac mid-range model, especially with the announcement of the new gaming platform!

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Dillinger-63

 
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Originally Posted by Skyrider007 View Post
OH MY GOD, ive just bought an MBP! I really should hv waited.
If that is the case you will always be waiting. My MBP is recently purchased too, but I'm enjoying using it right now.

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kaidomac

 
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Originally Posted by Skyrider007 View Post
OH MY GOD, ive just bought an MBP! I really should hv waited.
No, you shouldn't have. The current Santa Rosa chips are the fastest available from Intel. The MBP has all the best stuff currently available on the market. There's nothing for you to worry about. Don't even worry about Leopard coming out - you're going to have to wait six months for Apple to get it stable and for developers to port their apps to it anyway. I'm sticking with 10.4 for a long, long time.

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cheez

 
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I Hope to see a cheaper MacPro with the iMac specs. >.<
I want a MacPro but i dont need so much power (atm) and i dont like the idea of all-in-one iMacs...
But as knightlie says, It could just be the new iMac of course.
And btw skyrider, i just bought the new MBP. U should stop thinking that way cuz u will always be waiting.

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smurfy

 
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Originally Posted by brentsax View Post
I 'spose the new iMacs and Macbooks will probably get some more cpu upgradeage with the faster C2D Extreme (in higher end models)
Extreme in a MacBook...uh...no. I seriously doubt they will get into iMacs either. It would bump the price up by about $1000. Also, they're not Core 2 Duo Extreme, they're Core 2 Extreme - they're quads, not duos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentsax View Post
Well, thank you Forbes for getting my panties all up in a bunch. Now I won't be able to breath until Leopard is released. This release will of course not coincide with a new MBP (which I'm waiting for), but just on the off-chance that El Jobso pulls the trigger, I wait. Oh, and when it doesn't happen, and I purchase my brand new (and 1st) Mac, he will gleefully give us a new MBP lineup two weeks later. What a wonderful world I'm about to enter! Hehe
Jeez, they just updated the MacBook Pros, just buy one already, there's nothing wrong with them. It's not like the new ones will be all singing all dancing flying cars.
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Skyrider007

 
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Originally Posted by Dillinger-63 View Post
If that is the case you will always be waiting. My MBP is recently purchased too, but I'm enjoying using it right now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaidomac View Post
No, you shouldn't have. The current Santa Rosa chips are the fastest available from Intel. The MBP has all the best stuff currently available on the market. There's nothing for you to worry about. Don't even worry about Leopard coming out - you're going to have to wait six months for Apple to get it stable and for developers to port their apps to it anyway. I'm sticking with 10.4 for a long, long time.
I feel much better now, thanks guys I think I've made a thoroughly good buying decision then. I was kinda worried because I won't be buying another laptop in 4-5 years, therefore I'd like a machine that would be "future-proofed". I agree about buying Leopard later. I am absolutely enjoying Tiger and isn't that eager to upgrade to Leopard just because it looks fancier. As a matter of fact, I've already spent over a thousand bucks on top of the MBP price for AppleCare and accessories (iLap, invisibleshield, iSkin for keyboard etc.). So I don't have much cash left to hand over to Apple for Leopard upgrade. Let's hope my MBP will run as perfect as it is now for the next 5 years!
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brentsax

 
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Originally Posted by smurfy View Post
Jeez, they just updated the MacBook Pros, just buy one already, there's nothing wrong with them. It's not like the new ones will be all singing all dancing flying cars.
I guess I forgot to put *sarcastic voice* in front of that post...

And besides, I probably won't be able to afford the MBP until Leopard anyway, so in my situation, I'm stuck w/ waiting.
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kaidomac

 
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Originally Posted by Skyrider007 View Post
I feel much better now, thanks guys I think I've made a thoroughly good buying decision then. I was kinda worried because I won't be buying another laptop in 4-5 years, therefore I'd like a machine that would be "future-proofed". I agree about buying Leopard later. I am absolutely enjoying Tiger and isn't that eager to upgrade to Leopard just because it looks fancier. As a matter of fact, I've already spent over a thousand bucks on top of the MBP price for AppleCare and accessories (iLap, invisibleshield, iSkin for keyboard etc.). So I don't have much cash left to hand over to Apple for Leopard upgrade. Let's hope my MBP will run as perfect as it is now for the next 5 years!
Sounds like you've done a good job getting your MBP set up for long term use! I myself am picking up a 2.2ghz MBP tomorrow (whoohoo!). Even if Apple does release an update later this year, it will only be a few hundred megahertz faster, probably not something you'd notice unless you were doing some serious number-crunching.

As far as Leopard goes, it's looking really nice. If Leopard supports most Tiger apps out of the box without breaking them (Adobe CS3, Office, etc.) and is also fairly stable, then I'll probably switch pretty quickly. My wife is actually more excited about Leopard than I am (I can't tell how happy that makes me, lol). I also read some really interesting things regarding the iPhone & Leopard over at Howard Forums:

http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=1191647

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