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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Apple says iPhone sales rose despite the coronavirus pandemic

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Squint hard enough and you might see Apple’s future.

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Angela Lang

Apple’s iPhone sales showed resilience between April and June, despite the coronavirus pandemic’s continued spread, upending lives and disrupting business across the globe.

During the three months of its fiscal third quarter, which ended June 27, the company said it tallied $26.4 billion in iPhone sales, up more than 1% from the same time a year ago. That time included included lockdown orders worldwide and the temporary closure of Apple’s retail stores. The minor bump is also better than last year, when Apple posted a nearly 12% drop in iPhone sales during the spring months before its iPhone 11 reveal.

Apple’s iPad sales also rose to $6.6 billion, up 31% from the same time last year. Mac computer sales were nearly $7.1 billion, up more than 21% from last year.

The company’s wearables and services businesses, which, while smaller than the iPhone business, are a key part of Apple’s future, both posted double-digit growth. The wearables segment, which includes the Apple Watch and AirPods, posted sales of $6.5 billion. Its services, including subscription services like Apple Music and Apple TV Plus, posted $13.2 billion in revenue.

All told, Apple said it notched a profit of $11.3 billion, up 12% from the same last year. That translates to $2.58 per share in earnings, on $59.7 billion in overall revenue, which itself was up 11% from last year. That was also much higher than what analysts had been expecting the company to report, which on average was $2.04 per share in profits on $52.3 billion in revenue, according to surveys published by Yahoo Finance.

“In uncertain times, this performance is a testament to the important role our products play in our customers’ lives and to Apple’s relentless innovation,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. He noted that Apple notched growth in each of its international markets, including China, where sales rose 1% despite it being the epicenter of the initial coronavirus outbreak. 

Cook is expected to discuss more details about the company’s results on a conference call with analysts later Thursday.

Apple’s stock traded up more than 5% in after-hours trading, after closing up more than 1% to $384.76 per share. Apple’s shares, which value the company at $1.67 trillion, have risen more than 28% so far this year.

Apple’s latest financial disclosures are just the latest sign of how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world economy. In the US, overall smartphone sales fell by a quarter in the same period, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple derives most of its revenue from the sale of its iPhones. 

Broadly, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment, raising questions about whether consumers will have the appetite to buy pricey new gadgets. The US GDP, a measure of America’s economy, suffered its biggest quarterly decline on record, falling 32.9% between April and June. 

The US government has attempted to fight these issues with enhanced unemployment benefits, though that program expired last weekend for roughly 30 million Americans, and more will be impacted in the coming months. And even though the stock market is bouncing to near all-time highs, economists fear that may not last unless Congress follows through on another round of stimulus and unemployment assistance it’s negotiating.

But a spike in COVID-19 cases in different parts of the US, which began in June and continues today with Florida reporting a single-day death record for the third straight day, raises questions about Apple’s prospects in the coming months. Though Apple is hailed as one of the best supply chain companies in the world, bringing together a network of hundreds of suppliers to make its devices primarily in China, Apple watchers worry it may be further hit by COVID-19 as it prepares for the holiday shopping season.

One key warning sign came Wednesday, when chipmaker Qualcomm warned of “the delay of a global 5G flagship phone launch.” The chip manufacturer, whose cellular modems are expected to power the next iPhone, said it expects its sales to drop 15% in the current quarter as a result of the delay.

See also: iPhone 11 vs. iPhone XR: Find out which phone is the better value

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