Monday, September 20, 2021

The iPhone 12’s strong momentum helps Apple to another huge quarter

Apple’s string of record-breaking earnings reports continued on Tuesday, with the company posting a strong fiscal third quarter that saw $81.43 billion in revenue. That’s a year-over-year increase of 36 percent and a new all-time record for the June quarter. It also surpasses analysts’ expectations of $73 billion. Apple reported a net quarterly profit totaling $21.7 billion.

This quarter is traditionally slowest for iPhone sales as consumers shift to the next generation of devices that Apple is expected announce in September. But sales were still impressively up — by nearly 50 percent — compared to this time a year ago, reflecting continued momentum for Apple’s first 5G smartphones. Mobile carriers have continued to aggressively push iPhone 12 with promotional discounts and other offers.

Rumors strongly indicate that the iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max will be iterative upgrades over last year’s phones. The higher-end models could get a 120Hz display. The rest of the lineup will receive processor enhancements and larger, better cameras. Apple is also expected to slightly shrink the notch cutout on this year’s iPhones.

Mac and iPad sales were both up year over year, by 16.3 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively; CEO Tim Cook said that the Mac had its best June quarter ever, and the iPad’s was its best in “nearly a decade.” In recent months, Apple has shipped a redesigned 24-inch iMac and updated iPad Pro. These devices are the latest to use Apple’s in-house M1 chip, and they rank among some of the most powerful hardware the company has released to date. The 12.9 inch iPad Pro boasts a MiniLED display, which is expected to appear in a refreshed MacBook Pro later this year. The 16-inch MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and larger-sized iMac have yet to make the transition to Apple’s own silicon.

Apple continues to be focused on its services, which saw an all-time high in revenue for the June quarter. In an effort to continue fueling Apple Music’s growth, Apple rolled out a new lossless streaming tier and Dolby Atmos spatial audio for its premium music service in June. Ted Lasso, one of Apple TV Plus’ marquee originals, just returned for its second season. Apple also launched podcast subscriptions and channels last week.

Beta testing is underway for the next wave of Apple’s major software updates, including iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8. They’ll all be officially released this fall.

Even as business keeps soaring, Apple continues to face significant regulatory scrutiny over antitrust concerns and the company’s commanding influence over the iPhone’s App Store. It’s barely removed from an acrimonious trial with Epic Games. With the FTC now being led by an antitrust pioneer and US lawmakers considering a range if antitrust legislation, CEO Tim Cook called Nancy Pelosi in order to warn against rushing to pass policies.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took an opportunity to criticize Apple for its “walled garden” during his company’s quarterly earnings call on Monday. “I think we do want to emphasize that our goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy,” he said. “It is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors which is used by some companies.” Musk then faked a cough and said “Apple.” Apple is believed to still be at work on its own electric vehicle, among other projects like augmented reality glasses that are likely to launch much earlier than the car.

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