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Apple Earnings: iPhone Sales Up Even Before iPhone X Went on Sale

iPhone sales were once again top of mind when Apple released the earnings report for its fiscal fourth quarter Thursday, and the company didn’t disappoint investors: Apple sold 46.7 million iPhones during its most recent quarter, which is 1.2 million more than during the same time last year.

“iPhone sales exceeded our expectation,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook during the company’s earnings call, adding that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus had become the most popular iPhone ever since their launch.

Growing iPhone sales contributed to a solid earnings beat for the company, with Apple handily surpassing both revenue and profit estimates of analysts. Apple generated $52.58 billion revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30, compared with $46.9 billion a year ago. The company’s net income for the quarter was $2.07 per diluted share. Analysts had expected revenue to come in at $50.79 billion, with earnings per share of $1.87.

However, analysts also looked for Apple’s earnings forecast for the current quarter, for good reason: The company is only beginning to sell the iPhone X this week, and many consumers ready to upgrade are expected to have waited for the higher-end phone. The real question is: Can Apple fulfill demand, or will sales be hampered by previously-reported supply chain issues?

The good news for investors is that Apple seems to be confident that it will be able to ship plenty of the higher-priced iPhone X devices. The company gave investors a guidance $84 billion to $87 billion in revenue for the current quarter. A year ago, Apple generated $78.4 billion during the holiday quarter.

“We couldn’t be more excited as we begin to deliver our vision for the future with this stunning device,” said Cook about the iPhone X.

Apple also saw strong growth for its services business, which includes Apple Music, App Store sales, Apple Pay fees and more. This segment grew to $8.5 billion, or 24% year-over-year excluding a one-time $640 million adjustment. Apple CFO Luca Maestri specifically called out App Store, iCloud and Apple Music as contributors to this grow, saying that Apple Music subscriptions had grown 75% year-over-year. The company had “turned a corner” in the music business, he said.

Also growing strongly: “Other products,” a category that Apple uses as a catch-all for wearables and living room devices, including Apple Watch, Beats headphones and Apple TV. These products brought in $3.2 billion, compared with $2.4 billion during the same quarter a year ago.

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