Apple reported earnings after the bell. Here are the results.
Apple is currently in the middle of massive growth as sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs exploded during the pandemic. All three quarters during Apple’s fiscal 2021 have been blowouts with growth in every product line.
Apple’s fourth quarter ended in September, and will only include a few days of iPhone 13 sales, so analysts shouldn’t draw firm conclusions about the strength of Apple’s new product cycle from earnings. But company officials may offer some color about demand.
It’s also an easier comparison to last year because iPhone 12 models weren’t included at all in the 2020 fourth quarter, and customers often delay purchases when they know a new device is coming out.
But Wall Street’s estimates suggest that Apple’s sales will grow over 31.1% versus the same period last year, continuing its hot streak of growth.
One question facing Apple is how much it will be affected by the current landscape of supply chain issues and shortages in computer parts.
In July, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he was paying more for freight than he wanted to, and the company said that industry-wide supply issues would start to affect sales of its most important product, the iPhone. Many Apple products, including iPhone 13 models and Apple Watches, are backordered on its online store.
Apple’s App Store and the services business it underpins has also been growing strongly during 2021, boosting Apple leadership’s bull case that it has opportunity to sell cloud storage, music and video subscriptions, and apps to its current base of iPhone customers.
In the most recent quarter, services revenue grew 33%, after 27% growth in Q2 and 24% growth in Q1, higher than the mid-teens growth rates in previous years. If Apple’s services business continues to grow at a similar rate, it could prompt investors to value the stock more highly, analysts say.
Apple hasn’t provided revenue guidance since the start of the pandemic, citing uncertainty. It has offered single data points instead.
The quarter ending in December is Apple’s biggest of the year, driven by holiday sales. Analysts polled by Refinitiv are expecting $119.7 billion in sales, which represents a 7.4% annual increase, so they will be watching to see if Apple issues a guide and if it beats the street’s bullish estimate. Apple’s guidance, if it provides it, will also be the best look into the strength of the iPhone 13 cycle so far.