The important thing to know about the last three months of Apple making money, the results of which were just announced, is that the company did not do as well as the previous quarter, but did way better than last year and than pretty much anyone else who produces and sells products.
The raw numbers, for the quant types: Apple's first quarter of 2012 saw $39.2 billion in revenue and a net profit of $11.6 billion, on sales of 35.1 million iPhones and 11.8 million iPads. All of those figures are nearly (or, in the case of iPad, more than) double their equivalents in the equivalent quarter of 2011. And, as per usual, Macs sales were up slightly and iPod sales tumbled.
It's a dropoff, though, compared to the last three months of the year, but let's remember that those months were the all-important holiday period, when everyone with sizable disposable income gave and received iPads because they couldn't think of anything more creative. That was also the first quarter in which the iPhone 4S was available. So yes, beating that three month stretch would've taken something a bit more miraculous than two weeks of new iPad sales.
Put another way: this is Apple's second-biggest quarter ever. By a decent margin. Oh, and now it's sitting on $110 billion in cash.
Apple's going to be holding a conference call to discuss results (and maybe shed a little more light on how the new iPad's been selling) at 5 p.m. EST. We'll be listening in, if only because we'd never miss the opportunity to be bathed in Tim Cook's sweet, scratchy, southern drawl. [Apple]