Apple's first-quarter earnings

Apple beat the street with its 2008 first-quarter earnings, but the company is pitching a low forecast for the coming months. It's expecting earnings of 94 cents a share on $6.8 billion in revenues for the second quarter. We're liveblogging the conference call as Apple explains that one to investors.

CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook are on the call. No Steve Jobs, of course.

2:05 Pacific Time: Revenue grew 35 percent year over year.
2:06, Mac products and services were 42 percent of revenue. Shipments grew by over 2.5 times the industry average.
2:07, Leopard revenue was about $170 million in the quarter. Tiger only pulled $100 million in its first quarter.
2:08, 22 million iPods surpassed the last quarter.
2:09, iPod Touch came out at a higher price point than usual. This was a challenge. "We succeeded." NPD says iPod's market share in digital video players remained the same as last year.
2:10, Apple stores posted record quarterly results. 53 percent year over year growth, actually. The new store in Manhattan is "off to a great start." Average revenue per store was $8.5 million. Compared to $6.6 million in the year ago quarter.
2:11, 30+ million visitors came to the stores in the quarter. Up over 10 million from the same quarter last year.
2:12, Outlook for the next quarter. Targeting $6.8 billion, or 29 percent growth over the same quarter last year.
2:13, "We expect a decline in software signs as Leopard enters its second quarter." iLife is entering its second quarter as well. Lower revenue should come due to the seasonal change, too.
2:14, Time for questions.
2:15, Morgan Stanley asks: Over the last two years, this coming seasonal decline was pretty consistent. Your outlook is lower then usual. Why's your outlook is suggesting worse seasonality?
2:16, Oppenheimer: our guidance, that we're up 29 percent, is pretty good you know. "We remain very confident." Macs are up 40 percent year over year. 29 is actually up from a year ago quarter, when we grew 21 percent.
2:17, Analyst is asking about Macs.
2:17, Tim Cook: The Mac business is on fire. The Pro segment is up "very significantly" year over year.
2:18, Bill asks, did the $100 iPhone rebates effect earnings?
2:18, Oppenheimer: Nah, most of that's behind us now.
2:19, David Bailey from Goldman asks, give us detail on where you're unable to meet demand.
2:19, Tim: Our target is to be within 4 to 5 weeks of inventory. We didn't do that. Oops. Sales were much higher than we anticipated. We're trying to remedy that situation now.
2:20, Are we reaching a saturation point for music players?
2:20, The iPod market is bigger than music players. The iPod will be the first mainstream wifi platform.
2:21, Any cannibalization between iPod and iPhone?
2:21, Tim Cook: It could have been one of the factors in the US. Not in Germany and France.
2:23: Next question. Talk about linearity of sales of the iPod compared to seasonal downturn you expect. I ask cause I'm wondering if you have too much inventory.
2:24, Are you concerned about the US economy? And have you factored that into your guidance?
2:24, Cook: Um. We're focused on our business. We'll leave the economic forecasting to others.
2:25, Tim says we remain confident in our business. (Will you people stop asking questions?)
2:26, Stock buy back programs are being discussed by the board. But our preference remains to continue to have a strong balance sheet. For acquisitions, etc.
2:27, UBS asks about last year's similarly conservative guidance. Your guidance isn't good, he means to say. It feels like you're tricking us.
2:28, We give you guidance that we feel we can achieve. Then our focus is on the business.
2:28, Will the MacBook Air cannabalize businesss or be additive.
2:29, Cook: It's way too early to tell.
2:30, UBS: iPod sales were flat in the US during December. Why's that?
2:31, Oppenheimer: Woah. You're making that sound like a bad thing. We held our share. Also, we wanted to sell as many iPods as we said we would in our guidance. We did that. We grew iPod revenue 17 percent year over year. The highest growth rate over a year.
2:32, UBS breaks it down. The Touch sacrificed unit growth, but overall, Apple's happy about their iPod sales.
2:33, What's your goal for iTunes rentals. Drive sales or profitability in itself?
2:34, The objective is to break even. It helps us to sell iPods and Macs.
2:34, Is the MacBook Air a niche product?
2:34, Tim Cook says: We create beautiful things for all types of people. "Travelers, professors."
2:37, Tell me about the revenue sharing agreement with carriers. Does Apple share in the incremental revenues Orange gets in France on an unlocked phone?
2:39, Oppenheimer: sorry can't answer that.
2:40, You guys aren't economists. But people are freaking out. How should Apple investors take all that?
2:40, Oppenheimer: Well, we grew 27 percent in the US last year and 46 percent outside the US. We're very confident in our strategy and our products.
2:42, Bear Stearns asks. When you said iPod sales were flat, did you mean it?
2:42, Yes, they were flat in the US.
2:43, With all this traffic coming into the store, what can you tell us about what kind of money it made for you?
2:43, Mac sales were 504,000 in stores, up 64 percent year over year. Half of them went to first time Mac owners.
2:43, We're opening 35 to 40 stores in fiscal 2008.
2:47, Comment on the number of unlocked phones sold in the quarter?
2:47, Oppenheimer: We believe the number was significant, but we're unsure as to how to measure it. We don't know how long people will wait to activate their phones. We see this as expression of strong interest.
2:49, At Macworld Steve said you sold 4 million iPhones. But now you're saying only 2.3 million?
2:50, Silly, the 4 million was to date. The 2.3 million were just in December.
2:50, Would you say that sales accelerated?
2:50, We'll leave that analysis to you. But, frankly, duh.
2:52, The wireless phone business is seasonal. Should we build in an expectation of down shipments?
2:53, Aw shucks, we don't know much about all that, just getting into the business and all.
2:54, Your guidance is implying seasonality. But give me a little help. What do you make of iPhone seasonality?
2:54. Oppenheimer. Hm. Like I said. We don't know. We'll report later.
2:56, Tell me about your relationship with stores that sell the iPhone.
2:56, We have 2,000 or so stores in the US selling them. No plans for expansion.
2:56, Do you have any plans for in store marketing?
2:56, We have a plan but nothing to say about it.
2:57, That's it! Thanks everybody for asking questions we didn't want to answer!