Apple’s revenue grew nearly 9% year-over-year in the quarter ended March, company said Thursdayshowing strong growth and overcoming investor concerns about the deteriorating macroeconomic environment affecting demand for high-end smartphones and computers.
However, Apple shares fell nearly 4% in extended trading after Apple CFO Luca Maestri warned of several challenges in the current quarter, including Covid-19-related supply constraints that could affect sales by $4 billion to $8 billion. The tech giant also warned that demand in China was being dented by Covid-related blockages.
Apple CEO Tim Cook added that the company is “not immune” to supply chain problems.
Here’s how Apple fared against Refinitiv’s consensus estimates:
- EPS: $1.52 vs. $1.43 estimated.
- Revenue: $97.28 billion vs. estimated $93.89 billion, up 8.59% year-over-year.
- iPhone revenue: $50.57 billion vs. $47.88 billion estimate, up 5.5% y/y.
- Service revenues: $19.82 billion vs. estimated $19.72 billion, up 17.28% year-on-year.
- Revenues from other products: US$8.81 billion vs. estimated US$9.05 billion, up 12.37% y-o-y.
- Mac revenues: $10.44 billion vs. $9.25 billion estimate, up 14.73% y/y.
- iPad revenues: $7.65 billion vs. $7.14 billion estimate, down 1.92% year-over-year
- Gross margin: 43.7% vs. estimated 43.1%.
Apple did not provide a forecast for the current quarter – the company has not provided official revenue guidance since February 2020, citing uncertainty tied to the pandemic.
In addition, Apple said its board of directors authorized $90 billion in share repurchases, maintaining its pace as the public company that spends the most on buying back its own stock. It spent $88.3 billion on buybacks in 2021, according to the S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Apple raised its dividend by 5% to 23 cents per share.
The smartphone business grew more than 5% during the quarter, further evidence that the current iPhone 13 model is selling well.
Cook said the iPhone business had a successful quarter with sales to so-called switchers, or people who previously had an Android phone but decided to buy an iPhone.
“We had a record level of upgrades during the quarter and we grew switchers, strong double digits,” Cook told CNBC’s Steve Kovach.
The earnings increase also suggests that Apple’s high-end smartphone business may be insulated from concerns about deteriorating consumer confidence. The sales increase also came despite a difficult year-over-year iPhone comparison, as new iPhones launch earlier in 2021.
“It’s clearly a strong cycle,” Cook said.
On the other hand, Mac computers continued to grow strongly following Apple’s transition to use its own M1 chips instead of Intel’s processors. Sales rose nearly 15% year-on-year to $10.44 billion.
However, Apple’s iPad business continues to go sideways, with sales down 2.1% from a year ago, despite updated models with Apple’s M1 chip. Cook said the iPad business had “very significant supply constraints” during the quarter.
Apple’s profitable services business, which includes subscriptions, licensing fees and extended warranties, continues to grow strongly, up more than 17%. However, over the past two years the business had made a habit of beating Wall Street expectations by 3% to over 8%, and this quarter it only beat Refinitiv’s estimates by 0.51%.
“The [services] comps are a little strange during Covid, because we’ve had closures and then reopenings and so on,” Maestri said in an interview with CNBC, adding that during some periods over the past two years that “digital content went through the roof.”
Cook said Apple’s financial performance was “better than we anticipated.” The fastest-growing region was the Americas, which saw sales rise 20% during the quarter to $50.57 billion. Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, grew at a slower pace of 3.47% to $18.34 billion. However, Cook said the China closures related to Covid did not affect Apple during the quarter.