Apple takes the lead over Samsung as it announces company profit record, despite iPhone X omens
It’s always nice to get some good news after a period of sustained pummelling. Like the refreshing bite of lime at the end of a tequila slammer, Apple has just had the best possible news to take away the pain of hampered older handset performance and reduced iPhone X shipments. The company has announced record profits of £14 billion in the last three months of 2017, breaking the record of £12.9 billion it set back in 2015.
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And the slice of lime gets all the juicier when you realise Apple also beat Samsung in phone sales over the same period. While Samsung shifted an impressive 74.1 million handsets (18.4% of the market), Apple managed to unload 77.3 million iPhones.
Interestingly, there is a small sting in the tail to this: While company revenues grew 13% to £62 billion, phone sales were actually down 1% year-on-year. But because the iPhone X is so expensive, the money made per unit was actually higher.
“We’re thrilled to report the biggest quarter in Apple’s history, with broad-based growth that included the highest revenue ever from a new iPhone lineup,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement welcoming the news.
“iPhone X surpassed our expectations and has been our top selling iPhone every week since it shipped in November,” Cook added.
This is a very strange statement given what we know – or thought we knew – about iPhone X sales. Reports earlier this month suggested Apple had halved the number of orders of the pricey handset. That could still tally up with it being the top seller – after all it might just not be selling as well as expected – but it’s harder to square with the comment about it surpassing expectations. Unless he means surpassing negative expectations, which would be a weird thing to put in a celebratory press release.
Either way, something doesn’t add up, but the numbers don’t lie, and pleasingly the figures are reflected across most areas. While Mac sales fell a little, iPad sales were slightly up and “other products” – a category that features watches and TVs – was up a whopping 36%. In fact sales of the Apple Watch Series 3 were double that of the Series 2 in the same period last year.
As well as beating Samsung for smartphone sales in Q4 2017 with its 19.2% market share, Apple was ahead of Chinese manufacturers Huawei (10.2%), Xiaomi (7%) and Oppo (6.8%) which rounded out the top five. Others – including Sony, HTC, LG, Nokia and the like – were left making up the 38.6% of “other” sales.