Cook also demonstrated some gumption and fire last night, taking shots at iPad competitors, most notably Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report). He noted that he hasn't had a chance to play with the software giant's new Surface tablet yet, but said he's heard, "the Surface is a fairly compromised, confusing product." He took another shot, saying, "I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don't think it would do all those things very well."
Pre-orders for the iPad mini started last night, and already the white version is back-ordered by two weeks. Apple clearly expects this to be its next hit product, and all indications are that it will be, which should help drive revenue growth in 2013.
Then there's the iPhone 5, which Cook noted had the best opening weekend of any phone in history. The iPhone brings in the biggest chunk of Apple's revenue, generating $17.1 billion in sales during the quarter, up 56% year-over-year. Cook noted on the conference call that iPhone 5 production is ramping, with the worst of the supply constraints apparently behind Apple.
Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes noted that management's tone about production alleviated his concerns, as it seems production has ramped in the past week or two. "Demand for iPhone is extremely robust. We're thrilled with what we see," Cook said on the call. Reitzes rates Apple "overweight" with an $800 price target.Apple launched an incredible amount of new products in the past six weeks, as it continues to out-innovate its competitors, including Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) with new hardware. Gross margins seem to be at a trough, and Apple's operational expertise led by Cook and Oppenheimer will continue to drive component costs down. If comments from Apple are any indication, it looks as if once again it will be an "Apple Christmas" for customers and shareholders alike. Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock. -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Commodity_Bull
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