According to a Reuters report, the September quarter produced a milestone for Apple (and the current quarter, a MILESTONE was produced by Motorola, but that's another story) as the Cupertino based firm bypassed Nokia to become the industry leader in operating profit. Because Apple does not break down profits by product, Strategy Analytics estimated that the iconic touchscreen device brought in operating profits of $1.6 billion in the three months ending in September, compared with the Finnish-based firms' $1.1 billion in operating profits for the same period. Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones during the quarter, which generated $4.5 billion in revenue. Nokia sold 108.5 million handsets during the period, and that brought in $10.36 billion. The obvious conclusion is that the U.S. firm was able to keep costs down enough to make a half a billion dollars more than Nokia did despite being outsold over 2 to 1 in terms of revenue. Nokia's thinning profit margins could be traced in part to the many different models the company makes, with units at the high, middle and low end of the industry. In addition, Nokia has to deal with many more carriers-each of them with different types of customers-than Apple does.
Reuters also adds in the report that sales of cellphones will snap a 4 quarter losing streak and should rise 3% in the last quarter of the year according to a poll taken by 31 banks, brokerage firms and analysts. For 2009, the same survey expects that sales dropped 6.9% from the prior year. Despite the drop in overall sales, the smartphone niche has still been able to show growth with 2009 forecast to show smartphone sales up 20 to 30%. 2009 has witnessed the launching of such devices in the category as the Apple iPhone 3GS, the Palm Pre, BlackBerry Tour 9630 and the Motorola Droid.