Apple reported record smartphone sales for its fourth quarter, following the introduction of its latest iPhones.
During the quarter to 28 September, the company shipped 33.8 million smartphones, which it described as a “record for the September quarter”, compared to 26.9 million a year ago. It also shifted 14.1 million iPads, essentially flat from the 14 million in the prior-year period.
iPhone revenue was $19.51 billion, up 17.2 per cent year-on-year. iPad revenue was $6.19 billion, down 13 per cent from $7.13 billion.
In a conference call Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, said that iPhone sales were “ahead of our expectations,” despite supply constraints associated with the introduction of the new devices.
“We were particularly pleased with growth in a number of developing markets with unit sales up sharply year-over-year in Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and India. We were also very happy to add NTT Docomo to our carrier line up in Japan, a country where demand to iPhone has been especially strong,” he continued.
Tim Cook, the company’s CEO, also said that the company had “a pretty good quarter in China”, which was among the iPhone launch countries for the first time. “That was a big change as a result of a close working relationship with the carriers and the government,” he noted.
With regard to iPhone 5s supply, Cook also said that there has been a “very significant backlog”, but that its capacity is building and the company is in the process of making it and the iPhone 5c available in more markets – the aim is to achieve 100 countries by the end of the calendar year.
Unsurprisingly, the company did not comment explicitly on the performance of the mid-tier iPhone 5c, following earlier reports that this device had seen lukewarm demand.
Oppenheimer also said that iPad sales had “exceeded expectations” in the quarter, as Apple approached its new product launches. Cook said that “it’s unclear whether we will have enough [retina iPad mini] for the quarter or not”, acknowledging “you don’t really know the demand until after you start shipping”.
The company now goes into the lucrative Christmas holiday sales period with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c still fresh, and the iPad line recently updated.
For Apple as a whole, net income was $7.51 billion, down 8.6 per cent from $8.22 billion, on revenue of $37.47 billion, up 4.2 per cent from $35.97 billion.
And in the conference call, Cook also touched on the company’s possible move into new product categories, such as wearable computing. “In terms of new product categories, specifically if you look at the skills that Apple has from hardware, software and services and at incredible app ecosystems, these set of things are very, very unique,” he said.
“I think no one has a set of skills like us and we obviously believe that we can use our skills in building other great products that are in categories that represent areas where we do not participate today,” Cook continued.