Apple's stock was up more than two bucks to close at $137.26 today, as the company gets set to report June-quarter earnings. Investors have recovered somewhat from the revelation that AT&T activated fewer iPhones in the last couple days of June than some on Wall Street hoped for. With only two days of sales, no one expects the iPhone to contribute much to sales. MarketWatch states the obvious: Mac and iPod sales will make up for most of Apple's sales for the quarter, which analysts think will come in at around $5.2 billion. Nonetheless, the cell phone, as Apple's big growth opportunity, will be the focus of everyone's attention. I covered the call live, blogging the highlights here. On the call: CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook. CEO Steve Jobs usually doesn't show for these things, and he didn't tune in for this one, either, even with all the iPhone buzz.
2:57 p.m. Pacific Cook says sales were "skewed" to the $599, 8GB model of the iPhone for early sales in June. And with that, the call wraps up.
2:49 p.m. Pacific And an adjective from Cook on Mac sales: "blowout." Adobe's shipment of Creative Suite 3 and a new version of Apple's Final Cut video-editing software helped Pro line sales.
2:45 p.m. Pacific I really should catalog all of the adjectives Oppenheimer uses: "tremendous," "outstanding," and "landmark," among others. You can tell he's running short of them. I wonder if he's using a lawyer-approved list of adjectives and trying very hard not to stray from it.
2:42 p.m. Pacific No cannibalization of iPod sales by the iPhone in June, says Cook, but Apple's watching to see if there will be any this quarter.
2:40 p.m. Pacific Cook dodges a question on whether iPhone prices will drop over time. No vindication for American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu yet!
2:35 p.m. Pacific The surprise in earnings came from lower memory prices, says Cook, who adds that he believed they "bottomed" in the quarter. He now expects memory and LCD prices to rise as supplies tighten.
2:30 p.m. Pacific An analyst asks if there's a "tech nerd ... bubble" in iPhone sales. COO Tim Cook sticks by his prediction that it will sell a million total by the end of the current quarter — in other words, another 730,000 iPhones from the begining of July through the end of September.
2:30 p.m. Pacific Oppenheimer does it again, hinting at "some product transitions I can't get into." If you can't get into them, Peter, why mention them at all?
2:22 p.m. Pacific Ouch. An analyst questions Oppenheimer's guidance given for this quarter, given how badly Apple's guidance missed this quarter's actual result. Oppenheimer defends his conservative guidance for the September quarter, citing back-to-school discounts, higher parts prices, and — oooh! — "product transitions." That means some new products, people. You heard it here first. Anyone else smell new versions of the iPod coming?
2:20 p.m. Pacific Looking forward to the September quarter, Oppenheimer reiterates that the company expects revenue of $5.7 billion.
2:19 p.m. Pacific Oppenheimer says Apple is regaining its position in education sales. Those who have been watching Apple remember that a few years ago, it had badly fumbled in this market thanks to poor sales management.
2:18 p.m. Pacific Six years in, Apple is starting to remodel some of its older stores — 15 this quarter. More than half of customers buying Macs in stores continue to be switchers from Windows.
2:16 p.m. Pacific Apple is tweaking its retail-store accounting to make it more comparable to how third-party retailers report sales, as well as with other Apple operating segments. AppleCare and .Mac subscriptions are also being accounted for over the life of the service.
2:15 p.m. Pacific Deferred revenue from iPhone and Apple TV sales: $180 million. That will be accounted for over the next eight quarters, under what Oppenheimer calls "subscription accounting."
2:14 p.m. Pacific Apple's plans for Europe, including its wireless-carrier partner or partners will be announced in the current quarter — that is, by the end of September. Launch is still on for the fourth quarter of the calendar year.
2:12 p.m. Pacific iPod sales were 9.8 million. Music sales exceeded Target's, bringing Apple ever-closer to current music king Wal-Mart. Oppenheimer acknowledges that some iPhone customers had activation problems.
2:11 p.m. Pacific Sales of Mac notebooks accounted for 64 percent of all Macs sold. Anyone still use desktops out there?
2:09 p.m. Pacific Call has started. "Landmark quarter," says Oppenheimer. Operating margins continue to be high at 19.2 percent, and a "favorable" cost of electronic parts. Apple had cautioned Wall Street that margins would drop as parts prices rise, but that seems not to have happened.
2:08 p.m. Pacific Must be a lot of interest — they're still trying to get people on the call. Whoa! Stock is down more than 3 percent in after-hours trading. Were the iPhone sales not spectacularly high enough for forward-looking Apple investors?
2:02 p.m. Pacific Dialed in, waiting for the call to start.
1:50 p.m. Pacific I'm musing on the difference between Apple's report of 270,000 iPhones sold, and AT&T's report of 146,000 iPhones activated. I think the difference comes down to that: sold versus activated. There were widely reported problems with activations over the first weekend the iPhone was on sale, and not everyone necessarily activated their iPhone right away.
1:45 p.m. Pacific Apple always provides a useful data summary (PDF) to accompany its earnings release. Every region and sector's doing well, except for Japan. An interesting stat: Apple sold 270,000 iPhones, but only recorded $5 million in related revenues. You mathletes out there might think that, at $500-plus a pop, that seems a bit low. Where'd the other $130 million go? Remember that Apple accounts for iPhone sales over the course of 24 months after a sale. That adds up to a hefty chunk of deferred revenue to boost future quarters.
1:36 p.m. Pacific Earnings are in. 92 cents a share, 20 cents above expectations, and $5.41 billion in sales, $200 million more than Wall Street's consensus. Mac sales up 33 percent, iPods up 21 percent year-over-year. In the release, Jobs says he expects Apple to sell 1 million iPhones by the end of September.
1:30 p.m. Pacific Still waiting for the earnings release. In the meantime, reading Nick Wingfield's (subscription-only) story in the Wall Street Journal about why Jobs hates buttons. Apparently, he doesn't have to bully his underlings into following his whims; Apple's designers just fall in line with Jobs. "More royalist than the king," quips former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassee.