AAPL blew the doors off yesterday evening. Jobs and company have certainly executed in an "insanely great" fashion since early 2000.
By all accounts the quarter was spectacular and, frankly, I thought guidance was strong. To me, any criticisms of "mixed" or "disappointing" iPad sales is laughable. I heard many people say that the iPad was light; it came in over 4mm for the quarter. I remember when I predicted 7.5mm iPad's for calendar 2010 when pundits were high at 3.5-4mm. AAPL has blown out my initial variant high view by a good margin already and we still have a quarter to go. The supply issues seem to have been worked out and, needless to say, I need to completely recalculate my iPad sales projections for 2011. Though now I think a select few analysts are getting overly enthused about the product's prospects.
Also, I heard the guidance described as mixed. Just a history lesson here. AAPL usually guides down by a mile, though it will on occasion provide a guidance beat (maybe once a year). The current guidance was a huge beat on revenues and only shy of consensus by about 20 cents. Most quarters it is shy on EPS by anywhere from 15-30%. At nearly $5 in EPS per quarter, a guide within 20 cents is essentially inline - and to me that's a pretty clear guide higher to this observer.
Lastly, regarding margins. AAPL beat the margin guidance it offered previously, this is something they are usually pretty accurate with. Given the now widely known supply issues, I think margins are running as planned. Also, as AAPL moves into a much higher market share take on computing and tablets, this will compress margins. I'm not surprised by this, so the nitpicking regarding margins seems unenlightened.
Bottom line, while I do perceive more threats to them than many others currently, this quarter gave me renewed confidence that AAPL will still attain my long held view of the mid-low $400's. I do think other tablets will offer a challenge and I do think AAPL's move to be highly proprietary regarding the "silicon inside" of their products may prove problematic. That said, the long term Mac share take is compelling, the iPhone will still be the best single selling smartphone (but not OS) and the iPad is exceeding my very optimistic view. By the way... all this and we have yet to see the holiday season quarter. There still isn't an iPhone selling at VZ (and multiple other CMDA vendors), and we have been supply constrained on iPad's and iPhones for the last two quarters........