Apple today reported its fiscal Q1 2021 earnings, which cover the final calendar quarter of 2020 and the holiday sales season. That means this is the first time we’re getting a real indication of how the new iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max are faring with consumers. As it turns out, they’re doing very well. Apple crossed $100 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in the company’s history: it brought in $111.4 billion in total, with earnings per share of $1.68.
The latest iPhones went on sale a bit later than normal, and Apple has had to again close some of its retail locations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite those obstacles, the iPhone business did extraordinarily well, tallying over $65 billion in revenue. The previous all-time record for iPhone revenue in a quarter was $61.58 billion, which Apple hit in the first quarter of fiscal 2018.
Alongside a tweaked, flatter design, the iPhone 12 series is the first to include 5G mobile data, which some have speculated could result in a so-called “super cycle” of upgrades from people who are still using iPhones that are a couple years old at this point. The strong early interest is certainly there; now we’ll have to see if it holds.
Apple’s Mac and iPad lines have seen rocketing sales during the prolonged period of working at home and remote education as a result of the pandemic. The momentum continued in this latest quarter, with iPad sales up a staggering 41 percent — during a holiday quarter, remember — and Mac sales up 21 percent year over year.
iPad sales were up a staggering 41 percent year over year. Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
The company’s MacBook Air, base-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini are now powered by its own M1 processors. Those three products officially kicked off a transition away from Intel chips that will extend to Apple’s other Mac products over the coming months. The popular iPad Air was also updated in the fall with a more modern design similar to the iPad Pro.
During an earnings call with investors, CEO Tim Cook said Apple crossed 1.65 billion active devices worldwide during the quarter. iPhones account for over 1 billion of those devices.
Unsurprisingly, AirPods / AirPods Pro and the Apple Watch were a holiday hit for another year running, boosting the wearables division up 30 percent year over year.
Just as 2020 came to a close, Apple launched its latest paid subscription service, Apple Fitness Plus, which joins Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV Plus, and Apple News Plus as ways of getting recurring profits from consumers who buy Apple hardware. The company has continued to extend the trial periods for some of those services — namely, Apple TV Plus — but the services unit as a whole continues to perform very well and was up 24 percent.
Executive shifts at the company also continue. Just this week, Apple announced that longtime hardware engineering SVP Dan Riccio will now focus on a new, unspecified project; John Ternus — who has publicly introduced well-received products like the revamped Mac Pro, iPad Pro, and M1 Macs — has replaced him as Apple’s hardware boss.
The company has also pushed forward with its social initiatives, announcing a number of racial equity investments earlier this month. Apple also removed conservative social media app Parler from the App Store, citing insufficient moderation policies and calls to violence from some users on the app.