This marks the first time Apple has been No. 1 in the past five years after beating out its biggest rival Samsung in the number of units shipped during the holiday season quarter and increasing revenues with strong sales of its new iPhone 7 Plus.
The sales number for the iPhone and its profit of close to $18 billion, both easily beat expectations on Wall Street. That helped to send shares of Apple up 3% during trading afterhours.
However, those gains were a bit tempered by the cautious outlook of Apple for its ongoing quarter which it attributed for the most port to the strong dollar that hurts businesses such as Apple that sell most of their product overseas, through forcing them into increasing prices, thus depressing unit sales or sacrificing margins.
During its quarter ending December 31, Apple sold over 78.28 million iPhones, which was up from the same quarter of one year ago when the company sold 74.77 million. Wall Street was expecting Apple to sell 77.41 million.
Apple’s sales figures for the quarter beat the 77.5 million units that Samsung Electronics sold for the same period. This is the first time Apple has sold more than Samsung since the 2011 fourth quarter.
These results, which reflect sales of the iPhone 7’s first complete quarter, come during a period when the demand globally for smartphones has slowed and less expensive alternatives with Android are saturating the market.
Apple might have benefitted as well from the recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 due to problems with units bursting into flames.
Apple is very dependent on the success of its iPhones, which represents over two-thirds of the company’s total revenue.
Analysts as well as investors already have their sights set on the iPhone’s 10th anniversary edition that most expect to feature wireless charging, enhanced touchscreen technology and an OLED display with higher-resolution.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said that demand for the iPhone 7 Plus, the larger of the two most recent releases was very high during the company’s most recent quarter.
Revenue in its services business that includes iCloud, Apple Pay and App Stores, was up by 18.4% to over $7.17 billion. Sales were helped from the popularity of mobile games such as Super Mario Run and Pokemon Go, as well as an increase in subscriptions revenue.
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