Apple has had a lot of challenges to start the year. The Apple Watch was changed by patent lawsuits, the App Store was criticized by developers, and the iPhone faced renewed competition in China.
To top it all off, the company was recently dethroned as the undisputed king of the stock market when Microsoft replaced it as the world’s most valuable public company.
But on Thursday, the tech giant showed the versatility and strength of its business, announcing that its sales rose 2% to $119.58 billion in the three months ended December. It was Apple’s first quarterly revenue increase in a year and helped the company generate a profit of $33.92 billion during the period, an increase of 13%. a year earlier.
The results showed that Apple had the ability to overcome a slowdown in device sales by getting its huge customer base to buy more apps and services, such as Apple Music. The company said its software and services sales rose 11 percent to $23.12 billion during the period.
Apple shares fell about 1 percent in after-hours trading, even though the company beat analysts’ expectations for revenue of $117.99 billion.
Although its flagship products, the iPhone and iPad, are more than a decade old, Apple said the number of its devices in use worldwide last year increased by 200 million from the two billion reported a year ago. is one year old. Investors are watching that number closely because as iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches proliferate, more people are willing to pay Apple for things like cloud computing storage.
The iPhone, which accounts for more than half of Apple’s annual revenue, was the only Apple device to show an increase in sales during the quarter. Apple’s release of a new titanium version of the device last year helped Apple increase the number of smartphones sold by five million, according to Canalys, a market research company. The increase pushed iPhone sales up 6% to $69.7 billion.
But sales of iPads and wearable devices such as Apple Watches declined and Mac sales remained flat, weighing on the company’s total device sales, which were almost the same as a year earlier early, at $96.46 billion.
Apple spent the days leading up to Christmas warning customers that it would have to suspend sales of its Apple Watch because it had lost a patent relating to the device’s pulse oximetry feature. To keep up sales, it overhauled the software on its new watches and removed this feature.
In China, Apple’s second-largest market, the company faces a slowing economy and increased competition. Chinese consumers are cutting back on spending as China’s mobile phone giant Huawei launched a smartphone with high-quality cameras at lower prices than Apple. To keep up, Apple has started offering discounted iPhones in China.
Apple’s growth has lagged behind gains made by other tech giants. On Tuesday, Microsoft reported that its quarterly revenue rose 18 percent to $62 billion, while Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported a 13 percent increase in sales.
The value of these companies has soared as they have adopted generative artificial intelligence, which Apple has been slower to adopt. Tim Cook, the company’s chief executive, said last year that work was “ongoing” related to AI, but he declined to give further details.
Apple instead focused on releasing an augmented reality headset, the Vision Pro. The company put the device, which costs $3,500, on sale in mid-January and has sold its first batch of about 200,000 headsets, according to analyst estimates. Shipping of the device will begin on Friday.