Apple’s incredible shrinking iPod

October 27, 2008, 11:18 AM UTC

Bullish Cross‘ Andy Zaky has been on a tear lately.

The blogger-analyst, whose predictions of Apple’s (AAPL) quarterly earnings bested the pros for the second time this year (see here and here), is using the new adjusted revenue numbers Steve Jobs released last week to take a fresh look at every aspect of company’s business.

Today he’s looking at the iPod — the MP3 player that was once the main driver of Apple’s growth, and which contributed more than 55% to its total sales revenue as recently as the first quarter of fiscal 2006.

But the days that Apple was driven by the iPod are over, he concludes in an article posted Sunday evening. When viewed using so-called non-GAAP* revenue numbers (i.e., including the revenue from iPhone sales that Apple has been hiding in subscription-based accounting), the iPod’s contribution to Apple’s quarterly sales has shrunk from 55.6% in 2006 to 14.2% last quarter, as shown in Zaky’s chart below:

One consequence of the iPod’s diminishing role in Apple’s business model is a lessening of the company’s dependence on its first fiscal quarter — the one that includes revenue from the millions of iPods purchased as Christmas gifts. Notice in the following Zaky chart how the spike represented by Q1 sales in each of the last three years has been replaced by a spike in Q4 — the September quarter in which Apple released its iPhone revenue bomb.

*GAAP = Generally accepted accounting principles, by which Apple spread the revenue from iPhone and Apple TV sales over the life of the product rather than reporting it in the month the device was sold.

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