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The recession has been tough on most publicly-traded tech companies. Even Google, which has held up quite well, has admitted that the recession has made an impact on its business.

So is there any major tech company that hasn't really been affected? After reading its Q2 results yesterday, you might be inclined to answer 'yes'; Apple appears about as close to unaffected as a company can be.

In Q2, Apple sold 3.8m iPhones, 11m iPods and 2.22m Macs. While Mac sales are down 3% year-over-year, Apple did beat expectations and the iPhone and iPod sales beat expectations handily. The iPod figure sets a March quarter record and year-over-year, iPhone sales have grown a whopping 123%.

All told, Apple raked in $8.16bn in revenues in the quarter and generated a net profit of $1.21bn. Analysts had expected $7.96bn in revenues and lower margins than Apple delivered. It was Apple's best non-holiday quarter according to Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer. Shares of Apple were up nearly 3% in after-hours trading on the news.

Now that we know Apple is holding up quite well, the question is: what does the future have in store for the company?

The company gave a conservative guidance for Q3 that was lower than analyst estimates, but that was due in part to a decision to delay the recognition of revenue from iPhone sales after March 17.

If Apple has held up so well through the pain the recession has wrought so far, it's easy to believe that the company, which has $29bn in cash reserves, isn't likely to see a major drop-off in consumer demand for its products going forward.

One area of concern for me though is Apple's stance vis-à-vis netbooks. It's a market that Apple is shunning. On the earnings call yesterday, COO Tim Cook stated:

When I look at netbooks, I see cracked keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens. It’s just not a good consumer experience and not something we would put the Mac brand on. It’s a segment we would not choose to play in.

He believes iPhones and iPod Touches are viable alternatives to netbooks.

That seems like a stretch to me at least and with netbooks gaining so much traction in the marketplace, I can't help but think that Apple is missing the boat on this one. Even if it is, however, Apple has always done its own thing and when you look at its Q2 results, it's hard for anyone to argue with the road the company is taken.

Photo credit: The Pug Father via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 23 April, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2341 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Matthew Curry

Alternatively, Apple could be producing a netbook with no keyboard, OSX, sexy hardware, and a 15 inch OLED screen.

about 7 years ago

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Rory

Apple trade as an upmarket brand - you buy their products because they are good (on the whole) but also because they look good - basically contemporary tech bling. I’m not knocking it – just making an observation. Surely bringing out a netbook at a netbook price is not helpful to that brand. Bringing out a netbook at an Apple price probably is – they just need to figure out what the value add is that they can market it with aka the Macbook Air to make people happy to pay the difference

about 7 years ago

James Wakeman

James Wakeman, Unsure

I don't get why anyone would want a netbook. They're too small to fit in anyone's pocket (like an iPhone or iTouch does), so the poor user experience referred to above isn't compensated for by increased portability. A Macbook Air (admittedly more expensive) is just as portable, as is - I would argue - a 13" Macbook, as you still have to carry a bag of some sort anyway.

about 7 years ago

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Rory

I'm a fan of the small notebook - I have had a succession of small sony's that I find invaluable on the plane or airport for polishing up that report or spreadsheet. Would I buy an Apple? - if the price was right for the spec - it's a competitive market and it would seem from the results (against those of Sony for instance) that "the look" is probably worth more to many people than the spec.

about 7 years ago

Tom Stuart

Tom Stuart, Chief Architect at Econsultancy Enterprise Guest Access

With any luck, "the spec" is expanding in consumers' minds to include considerations other than the speed of the processor, the size of the screen etc. The iPhone, for example, has a pretty vanilla "spec" -- the camera's not much good, it doesn't have much RAM -- but the user experience is good enough that the other stuff doesn't matter. Design and user experience aren't just "the look".

If Apple do bring out a tablet, for example, it's a safe bet that it'll be more expensive than a Sony or Toshiba of equivalent "spec", but there'll be no shortage of people willing to pay the premium for the design and user experience independently of what "the look" is like.

about 7 years ago

Peter Abraham

Peter Abraham, Executive Vice President EMEA & Asia at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

If COO Tim Cook believes iPhones and iPod Touches are viable alternatives to netbooks I think what he's infering is that Apple don't want to compete in yet another market. They have high branded, quality laptops at a price, but still selling all the same. When you have a product that's flying (iPhone/iPod Touch + apps) and making bundles of cash, why get distracted with creating a competing product at a lower price margin than what they have now and that might not be to their target market anyway.

Peter Abraham - Econsultancy

about 7 years ago

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