Apple Q1: 74M iPhones sold in "record" quarter, as earnings beat expectations

Apple's December holiday period blew expectations out of the water, thanks to "record" iPhone sales, which partly offset the iPad decline.

Apple's Grand Central Store (Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

Apple sold more iPhones in the December holiday quarter than Spain and Australia have people combined.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant reported Tuesday fiscal first-quarter net profit of $18 billion on earnings of $3.06 per share (statement). Revenue for the quarter was $74.6 billion.

Wall Street was expecting earnings of $2.60 per share on revenue of $67.7 billion.

It wasn't just a big quarter for the iPhone and iPad maker. It was the company's biggest to date.

Apple's revenue from Greater China was a stand-out figure, up 157 percent year-over-year coming in at $16.1 billion. It's the highest rate of growth the company has seen in a region to date. It now accounts for about 21 percent of the company's revenue.

By the numbers (average professional analyst estimates are compiled by Fortune):

  • iPhones: 74.4 million sold, up from 51 million from the same period a year ago. Analysts were expecting 66.2 million.

  • iPads: 21.4 million sold, down from 26 million from the same period a year ago. Analysts were expecting 21.1 million.

  • Macs: 5.5 million sold, up from 4.85 million from the same period a year ago. Analysts were expecting 5.5 million.

  • Services (inc. iTunes, Apple Pay): $4.8 billion in revenue, up from $4.26 billion from the same period a year ago.

Apple said its gross margin 39.9 percent. Wall Street was expecting 38.7 percent.

In prepared remarks, chief executive Tim Cook said the company saw a "record" quarter in revenue and profit.

Apple also issued a cash dividend of 47 cents per share, payable in mid-February.

He added: "Our revenue grew 30 percent over last year to $74.6 billion, and the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal."

The company said that international sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter's revenue.

Apple said for its fiscal second-quarter outlook, due to land mid-to-late April, it expects to bring in between $52 billion and $55 billion in revenue.

Wall Street analysts were looking for $53.8 billion in revenue.

Shares in Apple ($AAPL) closed down 3.5 percent the Nasdaq in New York. In after-hours trading, shares were up more than 5 percent (at the time of writing).

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