Apple shatters sales records, calls Android tablets 'bizarre'

Sells 16M iPhones, 7M iPads as revenues break $20B mark for the second quarter running

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IPad sales were higher than the average projection of 6.2 million, and higher than all but three estimates by either Wall Street or amateur investment analysts, according to a table collated by Fortune earlier on Tuesday.

Apple racked up 2.9 million notebook sales, an increase of 10% over the previous quarter and 23% more than the same quarter of 2009.

Gottheil attributed the surge in laptop sales to the October introduction of new MacBook Air systems, and the higher average sale price of Apple's notebook line to buyers opting for the more expensive 13-in. models rather than the entry-level $999 11.6-in. MacBook Air.

Desktop Mac sales, however, were down 1% year-over-year, to 1.2 million, a slight decline from the third quarter and off from the same quarter in 2009.

Gottheil said he found even that small slip surprising, since both comparisons were to quarters when Apple revamped its iMac systems. "Desktop sales a year ago were very strong and leapt to record numbers," he said, impressed that Apple was still able to nearly match those numbers.

Exec slams Android tablets

Although Jobs wasn't available, Cook stepped in to bash Android, as Jobs did during the last earnings call when he vowed that Apple's iPhone "will triumph" over smartphones running Google's mobile operating system.

When asked to comment on potential iPad rivals, Cook laid into the competition, calling current tablets running Android "bizarre products in our view" because that version of the operating system wasn't designed for tablets.

Of the Android tablets that many manufacturers strutted at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, Cook was slightly kinder. "There's nothing shipping yet, so I don't know [how they'll do against the iPad]," he said. "But it's hard for me to understand that in a side-by-side comparison, that an enormous amount of people won't select an iPad."

Cook also described tablets running Windows as "big and heavy and expensive" devices that "customers are not interested in."

He argued that even when credible tablets make it to market, Apple has a "huge" advantage because of its early entry into the market.

"I think they got Windows tablets correct," Marshall said. "But they were a little dismissive of Android as vapor because we'll see them shortly."

No analyst asked about Jobs' medical leave, when -- of even if -- he might return to the company as CEO, or how his absence will impact the firm, its revenues or its product offerings.

"That was the elephant in the room," said Marshall, who noted that he had queued up to ask about Jobs but wasn't called on during the 40-minute Q&A.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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