Yesterday, Apple released the results for its 2017 fiscal first quarter (which ran from September 25, 2016 to December 31, 2016, and did not actually include any days from calendar year 2017) and held a call with analysts to discuss the results. This is typically Apple's best quarter of the year because of holiday sales. It was actually Apple's best quarter ever in terms of revenue, with revenue of $78.4 billion (compared to $75.9 billion one year ago, which was also an all-time record). Quarterly net profit was $17.9 billion (down just slightly from $18.4 billion a year ago and $18 billion two years ago). Apple CFO Luca Maestri called the record revenue "broad-based" because it included "new revenue records for iPhone, for Services, for Mac, and for Apple Watch. We also established new all-time revenue records in most developed and emerging markets, with strong growth rates in many countries, including the U.S., Japan, Canada, France, Australia, Brazil, India, Turkey, and Russia."
If you want to get all of the nitty gritty details, you can download the audio from the announcement conference call from iTunes, or you can read a rough transcript of the call prepared by Seeking Alpha, or Serenity Caldwell of iMore prepared an almost verbatim transcript of much of the call. Apple's official press release is here. As always, however, I'm not as concerned about the financial details as I am the statements of Apple executives during the call that are of interest to iPhone and iPad users. Here are the items that stood out to me:
- Apple sold just over 78 million iPhones in the last fiscal quarter. By my count, that means that Apple has sold about 1,111,766,000 iPhones as of the end of 2016. That's a big number.
- Apple didn't reveal the number of iPhone 7 sales versus iPhone 7 Plus sales, but did say that Plus sales were higher last quarter than ever before. I'm curious how much of that is because of the larger screen and how much of that is because of the better camera. I prefer the size of my iPhone 7, but I'm very jealous of the optical zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook said that more people upgraded their iPhone last quarter than ever before, and more people switched from another platform to iPhone last quarter than ever before.
- The iPhone has been around for a while. Cook was asked if all of the interesting new features have already come out. He disagreed: "I think the smartphone is still in the early innings of the game. I think there's lots more to do. I think it's become — every year, it becomes more important to people's lives. There's 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. 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."
- Apple sold just over 13 million iPads in the last fiscal quarter. By my count, that means that Apple has sold over 350 million iPads as of the end of 2016.
- Apple had peak iPad sales in its 2014 first fiscal quarter (when it sold 26 million) but sales have declined since then, such that three years later Apple is now selling half as many iPads I suspect that there are various reasons for that, such as the fact that people don't upgrade iPads nearly as often as they upgrade iPhones. For what it is worth, Maestri said that the 13.1 million was ahead of Apple's expectations for the quarter.
- Cook hinted at iPad improvements that are coming soon, saying "we've got some exciting things coming on iPad. I still feel very optimistic about where we can take the product."
- Cook also noted that people love their iPads: "The customer sat[isfaction] numbers are through the roof; literally, the customer sat for the iPad Pro is 99%. It's stunning."
- Apple doesn't release specific sales numbers for the Apple Watch, but Cook did say that Apple sold more Apple Watches than ever last quarter, and had more Apple Watch revenue than ever. Cook said that holiday demand was "so strong that we couldn't make enough. ... We couldn't be more excited about Apple Watch."
- Cook said that Apple is "working hard to catch up with the incredible demand" for AirPods. (If you are still waiting to get AirPods yourself, check out my post on Is In Stock.)
- Tim Cook described how he is using HomeKit in his own home: "I'm personally using HomeKit accessories in the Home app to integrate iOS into my home routine. Now, when I say 'Good Morning' to Siri, my house lights come on and my coffee starts brewing. When I go to the living room to relax in the evening, I use Siri to adjust the lighting and turn on the fireplace. And when I leave the house, a simple tap of my iPhone turns the lights off, adjusts the thermostat down, and locks the doors. When I return to my house in the evening as I'm near my home, the house prepares itself for my arrival automatically by using a simple geofence."
- Apple Pay is now in 13 countries, with Japan, Russia, New Zealand, and Spain added last quarter.