Contrary to some analysts' subdued forecasts ahead of Apple's latest financial results, CEO Tim Cook yesterday reported that Q1 2018 saw new revenue highs and iPhone X sales that "surpassed our expectations." And as of January, Apple hit a global base of 1.3 billion active devices, a 30 percent increase over usage figures in 2016.
Despite the positive sales and earnings figures, some analyses of Apple's results pointed to gloomy implications in those numbers. Total iPhone sales by unit were actually lower than they were in the same quarter of the previous year, although revenues rose thanks to the $1,000-and-up price of the iPhone X, according to reports.
Other reports found reason for concern in the fact that Cook (pictured above) didn't offer any figures for customers who switched from Android to Apple devices, something he has done in previous earnings calls.
iPhone X Top Seller Week to Week
According to its Q1 2018 results, Apple reported quarterly revenues of $88.3 billion, an increase of 13 percent over Q1 2017. Sixty-five percent of those revenues came from international sales, Apple said, noting that the record sales came despite the fact that the 2018 quarter was one week shorter than the same quarter in 2017.
"Our growth was broad-based and a key driver was iPhone, which generated its highest revenue ever," Cook said during yesterday's earnings call. "In fact, revenue for our newly launched iPhone was the highest of any lineup in our history, driving total Apple revenue above our guidance range."
Cook added that the iPhone X was Apple's best-selling phone during the quarter that ended Dec. 30, even though the flagship device didn't arrive in stores until early November, considerably later than the usual September launch date. The iPhone X "has been the most popular iPhone every week, every week sales. And that is even through today, actually through January," Cook said.
Apple shipped 29 million units of the iPhone X through the end of December, according to a report released last week by the analyst firm Canalys.
"This made it the world's best-shipping smartphone model over the holiday season," Canalys said. Those figures were impressive for such a high-priced phone, although they were "slightly below industry expectations," analyst Ben Stanton noted in the Canalys report.
Apple's Future Challenge: Shifting Smartphone Market
Apple sold an estimated 77.3 million iPhones in Q1 2018, which is just over 1 percent less than the 78.3 million iPhones Apple sold during the same quarter last year. While unit sales were lower, revenues were up, thanks to the high price of the iPhone X, which helped push the average price of an iPhone to $796, a new record.
Another plus for Apple's financial results is the fact that its current iPhone lineup features eight models -- the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X -- compared to just five in the same period last year.
At the same time, however, it's not clear how much larger Apple can grow its current global customer base. Smartphone sales overall have begun declining as the worldwide market has approach saturation, and high-end Android devices are increasingly rivaling Apple's in terms of quality and reliability, Business Insider noted today.
During yesterday's call, Cook declined to offer any figures on how many iPhone buyers had switched from Android devices during the last quarter.
"It is so early on this product cycle, particularly with the iPhone 10 only starting in November that we do not feel we have data at this point that would be very meaningful to share," he said in response to one inquiry. "And so I'll pump that question until next time around."