Apple announces best quarterly financials ever!

Apple has posted a $1.58 billion profit on revenues of 9.6 billion and setting all-time company records in virtually every measure of success from strong product sales — both Macs and iDevices — to the substantial margin by which the results beat Wall Street Estimates.

Unfortunately, due a combination of several factors including the looming general recession, shares of AAPL dropped nearly 4% on the day and more than 10% in after-hours trading; all told, Wednesday’s price drop was $16.57(!), bringing AAPL to 139.07 at the close of trading — this down from the previous month’s high of approximately $200 a share.

The downward spiral of AAPL is not just due to the general recession, though that does have many skeptical of Apple’s ability to continue selling large volume of high-margin products and relatively expensive “Lifestyle Products” like the AppleTV and Macbook Air which are driven more on their cool factor and innovation rather than purely practical considerations.

After all, one can get a set-top box with many more features than the AppleTV, and even within Apple’s own laptop offerings, you can find a much better on-paper deal in terms of “specs-for-the-dollar” than the Air whose high-end model has a processor about 10% slower, and specs which are across the board either similar or inferior to the entry-level Macbook which costs only about half as much.

That doesn’t mean by a long shot that we don’t love those products, or that we wouldn’t buy them for ourselves….but in a recession, they could be faced with a tougher marketplace which has tightened its belt considerably since mid-2007 when many of this year’s products were road-mapped…..and in general, a harder sell.

Apple is reportedly already adapting to this new reality…..with a renewed focus on its entry level, and on its on-paper value when compared spec-for-spec with Wintel machines from the major players. We’ll have a lot more to say about that very shortly here, as our first in-depth look at Infinite Loop’s 2008 Product Roadmap comes out from under embargo in the coming days so stay tuned!


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