Apple appears to have soothed investor concerns over the release of its 10th anniversary iPhone range while reporting a leap in smartphone sales.
The world’s most-valuable listed company’s third quarter results showed it sold just over 41 million of the smartphones worldwide – bucking the usual trend of a fall in the three months to July in what is traditionally its weakest period in terms of earnings.
It was seen as particularly impressive given the fact its new iPhone 8 and 7S models are expected to be released in September, despite doubts that weak availability of key chips could hit the launch.
The issue has been the talk of the tech sector – with speculation raising fears that Apple could be forced to stagger the sale of iPhone 8 handsets to give it time to gather enough flash storage chips.
But investors took heart from Apple’s own revenue forecasts for the current fourth quarter – when the new phones are due to be released – which showed a range of between $ 49bn and $ 52bn.
Such a performance would represent a leap of up to 11% on the same period last year. Shares rose more than 6% in after-hours trading to new record highs, suggesting the company did not foresee any potential stumbling blocks.
The company does not tend to comment on future releases. It is rumoured the next generation phone will include wireless charging capability and an OLED curved display.
Apple said revenue in the third quarter came in 7% up at $ 45.4bn – driven largely by the iPhone sales increase of 1.6%.
Service revenue, which includes Apple’s app store sales, jumped 22% while iPad and Mac computer revenue also rose.
Apple said it sold 11.4 million iPads in the quarter, a 15% increase on the same period last year.
The company credited its efforts to sell more to schools.
However, greater China sales fell 10% as Apple battled tighter regulation and stronger competition.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said the results were “decidedly rosier” than those of recent quarters.
“Revenue growth has strengthened, even in mature markets like North America.
“Alongside this, margin improvements have helped to boost net income by almost 12% over the prior year.
“In our view, this is a very solid performance, especially so at this point in the cycle when consumers are awaiting the release of the next generation of product.”