The note about record activations comes as Apple for the first time did not report quarterly unit sales of the iPhone, which it's done since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. However, Cook admitted to staff that Apple didn't set a new record for iPhone sales in Q1.
The memo, aimed at pepping up staff after cutting its revenue outlook for the first time since 2002, reiterated Cook's note to investors that it missed its target due to lower than expected iPhone sales in China.
Cook told investors Apple didn't see the size of the slowdown in China coming, which Apple believes was made worse "by rising trade tensions with the United States", referring to the US-China trade war. It also saw lower than expected upgrades in some developed markets.
But Cook told employees that Apple expects to "set all-time revenue records in key markets including the US, Canada and Mexico, Western European countries including Germany and Italy, and countries across the Asia-Pacific region like Korea and Vietnam."
Cook said Apple would not use negative external forces as an excuse for its performance, nor wait for conditions to get better.
"This moment gives us an opportunity to learn and to take action, to focus on our strengths and on Apple's mission -- delivering the best products on Earth for our customers and providing them with an unmatched level of service. We manage Apple for the long term, and in challenging times we have always come out stronger."
Apple today also announced that the App Store saw record levels of spending over the holidays totaling $1.22bn between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. The $322m spent on New Year's Day 2019 was also a single-day record for the App Store.
Apple has issued its first profit warning since 2002, and the first since the company entered into the smartphone era. But a situation that might be gloomy for investors will be good news for those who want to buy Apple products.