My Victory Lap After What I See as Apple's Best Quarter Ever

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Well, where do I begin? As a long-time Apple (AAPL) shareholder and a second-generation "fanboy," I don't know if Apple has ever produced a quarter that brought more vindication to everything I've said leading up to Wednesday's report.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've outlined a series of articles to help TheStreet's investors prepare for what was (and still is) the best bargain on the market.

But first, I had to come to the defense of Tim Cook, Apple's embattled CEO, who former Wall Street Journal writer Yukari Iwatani Kane has called a "stage manager." I wonder what she would say to Tim Cook today.

Following that article, I offered several reasons why the stock was heading to $650. Comments on that article said I was delusional.

So I offered examples of how Apple was still demolishing its rivals. Bears disagreed.

I then issued a swift response to Forbes writer who penned one of the dumbest Apple articles I've ever read. It was suggested I had become "too attached."

I then pointed out that it was analysts -- not me -- who didn't understand Apple's direction. Bears insisted that Apple's only direction was down.

Following that article, I told you how analysts focus too much on Apple's margins and not enough of on the potentially strong quarter to come. A commenter responded that Apple's iPhones are not good enough to justify such high margins.

There are other examples of bearishness. But given all of the unnecessary hatred towards Apple and undue criticism Tim Cook has had to endure, at the risk of extreme hyperbole, Wednesday's results were by far the best damn quarter in Apple's history.

I will gladly defend this statement to anyone, and it has nothing to do with the reality that the stock soared 8% following the report.

Apple hit on every single metric that I suggested was necessary leading into the quarter.

Apple's earnings rose 7% year over year to $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per share. Consider, aside from beating estimates by 14%, this number would already exceed what most technology companies make in an entire year.

Revenue climbed 5% year over year to $45.6 billion, also topping estimates by 5%. But as I said on Monday, the biggest issue would be iPhone unit sales. Analysts were modeling for 38.5 million, but Apple demolished that number by 13%, reaching 43.7 million, or 17% growth year over year. Note, I was modeling for 40 million.

During the conference call, Luca Maestri, who will become the company's chief financial officer later this year, said the strong unit number was boosted by strong demand in China, the U.S., Western Europe and Japan.

Tim Cook also rewarded investors with an additional $30 billion buyback plan and raised Apple's quarterly dividend by 8% to $3.29, two more things I told you would happen. The company is now earmarking $90 billion for buybacks, which makes reaching $600 per share a sure thing. But that's not all.

For the first time in nine years, Apple said it will split it stock 7:1, effective sometime early in June. While the total value of the company won't change, the split will dramatically decrease the per-share price of the stock, which closed Wednesday at $524.75.

In after-hours trading Wednesday, Apple stock traded well of $565, up close to 8%. Tim Cook just confirmed the new era of Apple and in the process, he's upgraded his status from stage manager to director. The lights are on him, the camera is watching and he just yelled "action."

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.


This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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