Apple has revealed its largest quarterly profit in its history, posting earnings of $18 billion for its fiscal first quarter. The Cupertino-based company beat analyst estimates across the board, largely due to extremely impressive iPhone sales figures.
Apple’s quarterly profit was up almost $4.9 billion, or 38%, from the same period last year, and the company’s revenue of $74.6 billion beat analyst estimates of $67.7 billion, according to a Thompson Reuters poll. Apple’s iPhone sales also beat expectations, reaching a staggering 74.5 million for the quarter, compared to predictions of between 62 million and 71.5 million.
The company’s first fiscal quarter, which ended December 27, is usually Apple’s most lucrative due to the holiday season. But the release last year of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus seem to have boosted numbers way beyond what anybody was expecting.
“We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in a press release. “Our revenue grew 30 percent over last year to $74.6 billion, and the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”
One area Apple will be particularly pleased with its performance in China. Revenue for ‘Greater China’, which includes China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, was up 70%, from $9.4 billion in the fiscal first quarter last year to 16.1 billion in the same period this year.
Apple also announced the much anticipated Apple Watch will be shipped in April. The smart watch was unveiled in September last year, but there has been no news on a launch date until now.
The only minor concern for Apple investors was the continuing struggling sales of the iPad. Apple released two new models late last year, the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, and it apparently wasn’t soon enough for sales to hit analyst estimates of around 21.6 million. In total the company sold 21.4 million units in the quarter, down 18% year on year. Cook defended the iPad’s performance during a conference call following the release of the earnings. The CEO said the upgrade cycle for iPads was longer than other products and should be viewed more long term.
Overall though, it was a fantastic earnings announcement for Apple, and shares in the company were up 5.4% in after hours trading.