Apple finished 2020 with a bang, logging its most profitable quarter ever despite disruptions created by the pandemic.
For the three months ending in December, the iPhone maker pulled in a record $111.4 billion in sales, the company said. It’s the first time Apple crossed the symbolic $100 billion mark in a single quarter.
Analysts had expected the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to do well thanks to holiday season and the debut of iPhone 12 in October, which boasts a new look, 5G cellular data connectivity, and new models in multiple sizes at differing prices.
But the company beat even Wall Street’s lofty expectations. In the period ended Dec. 26, Apple profit rose 29 percent to $28.8 billion, or $1.68 a diluted share. Revenue jumped 21 percent to $111.4 billion. Wall Street had forecast earnings per share of $1.41 on sales of $103.3 billion.
Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook touted the “innovative work” of his team and the “cutting-edge products” that the company delivered during the holidays.
The holiday quarter is always a closely watched period for Apple, accounting for about 30 percent of its annual sales. But the stakes were even higher this year with the arrival of iPhone 12 and the COVID-19 outbreak, which delayed the production of Apple’s flagship phone.
The pandemic forced Apple to push back its traditional September launch date to October, which means some versions of the new phone didn’t start shipping to customers until November, cutting down the number of weeks Apple typically has in the period to capture sales ahead of Christmas.
Cook noted that the results could’ve been even better if not for the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns that forced Apple to temporarily shutter some Apple stores around the world.
The exec pointed to strong growth across its product line —not just booming iPhone sales — for the strong results. And Apple boasted double-digit gains in all of its product categories as the pandemic lifts demand for home computing products and services.
Sales of iPhones rose 17 percent to $65.6 billion. Mac sales grew 21 percent to $8.7 billion, while iPad revenue increased 41 percent to $8.4 billion.
The company’s revenue from services like Apple+ TV and Apple Music jumped 24 percent to $15.8 billion. Other products revenue expanded 29 percent to $13 billion.
While Apple’s products showed strength across the board, analysts circled back to iPhone 12, which marks Apple’s first to sport 5G connectivity. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said the new phone will launch a sales “supercyle,” in which consumers who have held onto their older iPhones would upgrade en masse to get their hands on the latest cellular connectivity technology.
“We strongly believe the iPhone 12 supercycle hype has become a reality with this week giving the Street its first glimpse of underlying iPhone 12 demand and key commentary from [Apple CEO Tim Cook] looking ahead into the next few quarters,” he said.