Apple saw strong iPhone sales in the first quarter, buoyed by purchases in markets like China. And while iPad sales were not as big as expected, CEO Tim Cook insisted that "things look very, very good" as far as iPad is concerned.
Apple sold 43.7 million iPhones between January and March, down from 51 million in the fourth quarter, but a non-holiday and March quarter record, Cook said.
The company also sold 16.3 million iPads, down from 26 million over the holiday quarter. But in a lengthy discussion of the iPad business, Cook said he was confident that things are looking up for Apple's tablet segment.
In just over four years, Apple has sold more than 210 million iPads, "which is more than we or anyone thought was possible," Cook said. That's twice as many iPhones that Apple sold in a similar time period and seven times as many iPods. "We've come a long way very, very quickly," Cook said.
When asked about the impact of Microsoft Office on iPad, Cook said he believes it "does help" the iPad, though it's "very unclear" how much.
He dinged Microsoft for dragging its feet on the release of Office for iPad, arguing that "lots of alternatives" - including its own iWork - made headway in the interim. But then he discussed how it's better to be great than first as it relates to Apple's own products.
Apple did not have the first MP3 player, smartphone, or tablet, but it shipped "the first successful, modern" MP3 player, smartphone, and tablet, Cook said. "It means much more to us to get it right than to be first."
"I think you can see so many examples out in the marketplace that the objective has been to be first," he said, without elaborating (Samsung Galaxy Gear, anyone?). "But customers don't care about that. They want great, insanely great, and that's what we want to deliver," he concluded.
As usual, Cook referred vaguely to amazing products that Apple has in the pipeline. He also confirmed that the Apple TV - 20 million of which have now been sold - is no longer a hobby since purchases through Apple TV brought home the bacon last year. "It didn't feel right to me to refer to something that's over $1 billion as a hobby," he said.
Cook also said Apple will likely pursue more acquisitions, most of which Cupertino will try - likely in vain - to keep secret.