Apple reveals healthy iPhone sales as Cook hints at more handset variations

Apple reported its “best March quarter ever” on Tuesday, with CEO Tim Cook declaring that customers chose the iPhone X “more than any other iPhone each week” across the three months.

The iPhone X launched in November 2017 and — starting at $1,000 and topping out at $1,150 — it’s Apple’s most expensive handset ever. Recent news reports suggested there had been weak demand for the pricey handset, but the company said this was the first cycle that its top-of-the-line had also been its most popular, outselling the iPhone 8, 7, 6S, and SE.

In a conference call with investors, Cook made no direct comment about recent rumors regarding variations on the iPhone X, but did say that Apple is “going to continue to provide different iPhones for folks to meet their needs,” which some may take as a hint that new designs are on the way.

Announcing sales figures for the three-month period ending March 31, Apple said it sold 52.2 million handsets, up from 50.7 million a year ago, though down from 77.3 million during the previous quarter, which includes the busy holiday period. It also sold more iPads year on year — 9.1 million compared to 8.9 million during the same period in 2017. But again, this was down from 13.1 million on the previous quarter.

At 4.1 million units, sales of its Mac computers were down slightly, from 4.2 million units on a year ago, and down from 5.1 million units compared to the last quarter.

The company’s Other Products category saw notable year-on-year growth, with revenue reaching $3.9 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year. This segment includes the Apple Watch, AirPods, Apple TV, as well as the recently released HomePod smart speaker. However, compared to the last quarter, revenue for the category fell more than $1 billion, from $5.5 billion.

Apple doesn’t break down its Other Products category, so it’s hard to know how its new smart speaker is doing. Recent reports suggested sales have been slow, with the $349 price tag prohibitive for many. However, Cook was happy to point out that sales of wearable devices jumped nearly 50 percent on a year earlier, attributable at least in part to the launch of the first cellular Apple Watch toward the end of 2017.

The hardware sales, together with almost $10 billion worth of services, translated into revenue of $61.1 billion, and $13.8 billion profit, in line with Apple’s own revenue guidance. That’s up from $52.9 billion a year ago, though down from $88.3 billion on the last quarter. The latest figures were boosted by growth in all of its geographical segments, most notably in China and Japan, which saw growth of 20 percent.

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