Apple has announced that they sold over 18 million iPhones worldwide in the first quarter of 2011. Pretty good going, considering that this is one of their quieter periods. Although Apple’s sales are performing well, devices using Google’s Android are still taking the largest share of the smartphone market worldwide. What is interesting about the latest announcement is that 50% of the $24.6 billion revenue now come from this device. In the last quarter of 2010 it was just 33% of their profits. These profits don’t just count sales of handsets themselves, but include related services such as operator revenues and app sales.
On the flip side, iPad sales were lower than expected. That was largely due to production, as the company sold every tablet device it could make. Their iPod sales were also down, but that is no surprise given that iPhones and iPads have the same kind of functions.
These results reinforce two key points about Apple:
Firstly, they are about profit, not volume. In other words, Apple are not trying to put an iPhone in everyone’s pocket (in spite of Steve Job’s earlier claim), they are a premium product.
Secondly, in order to retain that premium space Apple are vociferously defending their patents.