Apple's iPhone beats expectations with 61.2M shipments

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported iPhones sales of 61.2 million in its most recent quarter, well above the 58 million iPhones that analysts had been expecting on average. The company also posted increases in its revenues and profits.

Click here for a chart of Apple's quarterly iPhone and iPad sales numbers since 2007.

"We are thrilled by the continued strength of iPhone, Mac and the App Store, which drove our best March quarter results ever," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a release. "We're seeing a higher rate of people switching to iPhone than we've experienced in previous cycles, and we're off to an exciting start to the June quarter with the launch of Apple Watch."

Importantly, Apple also predicted the good times would continue: The company said it expects revenues to rise to between $46 billion and $48 billion in its coming quarter, a notable increase from the $37.4 billion the company reported in the year-ago quarter. According to Bloomberg, analysts had expected $47 billion in revenue.

Wall Street seemed to cheer Apple's results. The company's stock jumped almost 2 percent in after-hours trading immediately following the release of the company's results.

Apple didn't disclose Apple Watch sales figures; the gadget went on sale just last week. "Given the strength of this iPhone cycle, expanded cash distribution, and entry into the first new product category in five years with Apple Watch, we believe Apple remains early in this transformational cycle," Brian White, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., wrote in a note to investors, according to Bloomberg

Much of Apple's successes of late are due to the release of its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; Apple in the holiday quarter reported a whopping 74.5 million iPhone shipments, a record for the company. Results from Apple's most recent quarter--its fiscal 2015 second quarter, which ended March 28--indicate that the company's iPhone momentum isn't slowing. Apple said it is stealing more customers away from rival platforms liek Android. "We're seeing a higher rate of switchers than previous iPhone cycles," Cook told the Wall Street Journal

However, a dark spot on the company's earnings release showed a larger-than-expected slowdown in iPad shipments. Apple said it shipped 12.6 million iPads during its most recent quarter, which Bloomberg pointed out was the company's fifth-straight quarter of falling iPad sales. The company's iPad shipment figure represented a 23 percent year-over-year decline--greater than the 17 percent decline that analysts had expected.

As for Apple's finances, the company in its most recent quarter posted revenue of $58 billion, up from the $45.6 billion it recorded in the same quarter a year ago. The company's net profit in the quarter clocked in at $13.6 billion, also up from the $10.2 billion it notched in the year-ago quarter. Apple's gross margin was 40.8 percent, up from 39.3 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Bloomberg noted that iPhone sales in greater China outpaced those in the U.S. for the first time in Apple's most recent quarter, helped by the Chinese New Year celebration. Apple last year expanded iPhone sales to all of China's top wireless carriers.

Aside from its earnings, Apple said it also increased its share repurchase authorization to $140 billion from the $90 billion level announced last year.

For more:
- see these two releases
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Seeking Alpha transcript
- see this Reuters article 
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

Special Report: Wireless in the first quarter of 2015

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