Wall Street regularly braces itself each quarter when it’s time for Apple to report earnings again, a release that’s always closely watched and the subject of much prognostication and analysis. Ahead of the iPhone maker’s new results that just hit with the close of markets, though, it’s probably fair to say the stakes were a bit higher than normal this time around. Investors were pretty eager to get more of a read on how Apple’s services business is faring, giving that the company is placing a greater emphasis there as a revenue-generator (additionally, Apple TV+, the company’s new streaming TV subscription service, actually launched during the just-ended quarter). Also, it was this time last year when Apple was sounding a warning about a sales slowdown in China and — yep, here we are again (in a way) with investors waiting to see what if any impact the Coronavirus outbreak in China is having. The iPhone 11 series has also been reportedly selling well, and even though Apple doesn’t break out individual unit sales anymore, analysts were eager to get a read on the revenue there, as well. So, how did Apple perform during the typically busy holiday quarter?
Revenue for the quarter hit $91 billion, bringing closer into sight a $100 billion quarter for the company. That was up 9% from the year-ago quarter and sets an all-time record for the company, with quarterly earnings per share also setting another all-time record ($4.99, up 19%).
Apple says that international sales accounted for 61% of the quarter’s revenue. All the more impressive, when you consider this was achieved at the height of trade tensions. And, of course, iPhone sales led the way.
“We are thrilled to report Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, fueled by strong demand for our iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models, and all-time records for Services and Wearables,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “During the holiday quarter our active installed base of devices grew in each of our geographic segments and has now reached over 1.5 billion. We see this as a powerful testament to the satisfaction, engagement and loyalty of our customers — and a great driver of our growth across the board.”
Not only did Apple turn in solid performance for the holiday quarter, but the iPhone maker also gave bullish guidance for its upcoming quarter, estimating revenue to fall somewhere between $63 billion and $67 billion. Accordingly, Apple was up more than 2% in after-hours trading in the initial moments following the earnings release. “It was sort of a blockbuster quarter all the way around,” Cook told CNBC this afternoon.
Other key points to note:
- Apple’s increasingly important services business that includes subscription offerings like Apple TV+, climbed 17% to $12.7 billion for the quarter.
- Apple says it now has more than 1.5 billion active devices in use, up from 1.4 billion the company previously recorded. That’s up over 100 million in the last 12 months.
- Apple does most of its manufacturing in China, where the Coronavirus is still spreading. Even though Cook a few moments ago on the company’s earnings call said that China has returned to a growing market for the company, Apple is restricting travel there, has closed one store there and cut back on store hours there also.
“Apple TV+ is off to a rousing start,” Cook added on the call, quickly shifting to a more definite metric for the company’s news subscription service Apple News+ which Cook said currently has 100 million monthly active users in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.
One analyst pressed Cook on how Apple is gauging success regarding Apple TV+, which costs $4.99/month but is also free for a year when you buy a new Apple device. Is success being measured by critical acclaim, the analyst wanted to know? Number of users? “We are primarily measuring ourselves on the number of subscribers,” Cook responded, without providing numbers. “That said, the product itself is about storytelling.” And he added that if Apple focuses on executing there will, critical acclaim and awards will follow.