November 30, 2020

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Future Technology

Apple says iPhone sales rose despite the coronavirus pandemic spread

Squint hard enough and you might see Apple’s future.


Angela Lang/CNET

Apple’s iPhone sales showed resilience between April and June, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to spread, upending lives and disrupting business across the globe.

During the three months of its fiscal third quarter, which included lockdown orders worldwide and the temporary closure of Apple’s retail stores, the company said it tallied $26.4 billion in iPhone sales, up more than 1% from the same time a year ago. Last year, Apple struggled to grow iPhone sales during the summer months before its iPhone 11 reveal, posting a nearly 12% drop last year.

All told, Apple said it notched profits of $11.3 billion, up 12% from the same last year.  That translates to $2.58 per share in profit, off $59.7 billion in overall revenue, which itself was up 11% from last year. That was also way above what analysts had been expecting the company to report, which on average was $2.04 per share in profits on $52.3 billion in revenue, according to surveys published by Yahoo Finance.

“In uncertain times, this performance is a testament to the important role our products play in our customers’ lives and to Apple’s relentless innovation,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. He’s expected to discuss more details about the company’s results on a conference call with analysts later Thursday.

Apple’s stock traded closed regular trading up more than 1% to $384.76 per share, valuing the company at $1.67 trillion. They’ve risen more than 28% so far this year.

Apple’s latest financial disclosures are just the latest sign of how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world economy. In the US, overall smartphone sales fell by a quarter in the same period, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple derives most of its revenue from the sale of its iPhone family. 

Broadly, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment, raising questions about whether consumers will have the appetite to buy pricey new gadgets. The US GDP, a measure of America’s economy, suffered its biggest quarterly decline on record, falling 32.9% between April and June. 

The US government’s attempted to fight these issues with enhanced unemployment benefits, though that program expired last weekend for roughly 30 million Americans, and more will be impacted in the coming months. And even though the stock market is bouncing to near all-time highs, economists fear that may not last unless Congress follows through on another round of stimulus and unemployment assistance it’s negotiating.

But a spike in cases in different parts of the US, which began in June and continues today with Florida reporting a single-day death record for the third straight day, raises questions about Apple’s prospects in the coming months. Though the company’s hailed as one of the best supply chain companies in the world, bringing together a network of hundreds of suppliers to make its devices primarily in China, Apple watchers worry the company may be further hit by COVID-19 as it prepares for the holiday shopping season.

One key warning sign came Wednesday, when chipmaker Qualcomm warned of “the delay of a global 5G flagship phone launch.” The chip manufacturer, whose cellular modems are expected to power the next iPhone, said it expects its sales to drop 15% in the current quarter as a result of the delay. 

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