Apple posts record iPhone sales, 'great progress' in enterprise

CEO Tim Cook reveals a solid quarter for Apple and makes the case for iPhones and iPads in enterprise

Apple posted record sales for the iPhone and made "great progress" into enterprise, CEO Tim Cook said following the release of the company's quarterly results.

Apple posted quarterly revenue of $78.4 billion and profit of just under $18 billion, thanks to record sales for the iPhone, Watch, Mac and Services, while the App Store posted its best month ever in December with $3 billion in purchases, Cook said.

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Apple sold 78.29 million iPhones in the quarter that ended 31 December, up by 5% from the same period last year - and topping Samsung's sales of 77.5 million, according to a Strategy Analytics report cited by Reuters.

Helped by record sales, Cook shrugged off suggestions that the iPhone market had matured. "I think the smartphone is still in the early innings of the game," he said in response to an analyst question suggesting investors believe iPhone growth and innovation will be incremental in the future.

"I think there's lots more to do," Cook added. "I think it's become every year it becomes more important to people's lives and there are more things people are doing with it. I talked a little bit about home automation, but I could have talked about health. I could have talked more about CarPlay. The use of it in the enterprise is growing significantly. And so when I look at all of these things, usage going up, app developers still innovating, we've got some exciting things in the pipeline, I feel really, really good about it."

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Mac and iPad

Apple was also positive about the Mac after selling 5.4 million in the quarter, up slightly from the year before, saying sales had "not only returned to growth but generated its highest quarterly revenue ever" - that included double-digit growth in China, Japan, India, the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as in the US education market.

That rebound follows the release of high-end MacBooks, with prices starting from 1,749 for models with the new Touch Bar. Apple didn't update the lowest-priced MacBook Air, instead offering a lower-end MacBook Pro. Despite that, Cook claimed to be winning customers away from Microsoft-based computers. "Our latest data shows that most Mac customers are buying their first Mac, with the vast majority of them coming from a Windows PC," he added.

The iPad didn't make the list of "best results ever", though Cook was keen to point out that the sales of 13.1 million units was "ahead of our expectations". That's down from 16.1 million units in the same quarter last year, a 19% fall.

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Cook pinned that on the higher price of the iPad Pro, as well as a shortage issue with a supplier. "And so all in all, there were quite a few things going on there." He also argued that the tablet market isn't fully saturated, saying many iPad buyers are first-time tablet owners.

Enterprise success

Apple was also bullish on corporate sales. "We're making great progress in the enterprise market alongside our major partners," Cook said. The company signed deals with Cisco in 2015 to push iOS into the enterprise and IMB in 2014 to encourage the development of business apps on iOS, and announced it was working with SAP last year.

"The combination of iOS and Cisco technology is giving companies everywhere the opportunity to vastly improve the user experience for their mobile employees," he said, later adding: "In fact, the total number of joint customer opportunities has grown over 70% since last quarter."

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He had similar praise for IBM and SAP. "Enterprises are using IBM's new Mobile at Scale design and development model to deploy multiple iOS apps with speed and efficiency," Cook said. "And later this spring, SAP will be rolling out its SDK for iOS, providing its community of more than 2.5 million developers the tools to build powerful native iOS apps that leverage the SAP HANA cloud platform."

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