updated 03:00 am EST, Thu December 23, 2010
Comparison of Q4 '09 and '10 as "financial art"
Industry analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco has created an almost Mondrian-style financial chart presenting Apple's performance -- compared between the recently-released results of the company's 2010 fiscal fourth quarter (referred to as the calendar third quarter or CQ3) and the same period in 2009 -- to visually illustrate expenses, margins, profits and growth in a single, understandable graphic.
The chart, while not specifying dollar amounts, shows broadly how the company more than doubled revenue ($12.21B in Q4 2009 compared to $20.34B Q4 this year) along with areas where the company's profits and expenses increased (or decreased).
The chart's visual emphasis means it does not get into the minutia of precise figures or percentages of various categories, instead instead using the size of boxes to represent growth or decline, and the height of categories to show their importance. At a glance, even financial novices can determine which categories of product or expenses are larger, which are smaller, any new factors (such as the introduction of the iPad) have entered the mix and broadly speaking how the company has done in comparison to its year-ago performance.
Among the conclusions one can quickly see from the chart: taxes on the company stayed about the same year-over year, while Service, General and Administrative (SG&A) costs, which includes Apple's legal entanglements, rose significantly; while costs on making and selling the iPhone lineup (including the introduction of the iPhone 4, with its so-called "Antennagate" and subsequent "free bumper" program) increased significantly, it was offset by gains in profitability; and that iPhones, increased Mac sales and the introduction of the iPad contributed heavily to Apple's gain in net income, from $2.53B in the fiscal Q4 to $4.31 in 2010.
You can view the full-sized chart via the Asymco blog here.