The iPhone 6 didn’t just supersize the phone’s screen size. It also supersized Apple’s financial results.

The Cupertino, Calif., electronics giant on Tuesday reported the best sales quarter in its 38-year history, as demand for its newest smartphones, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus,soared beyond analysts’ expectations.

The company said it sold a record 74.5 million iPhones during the period, much higher than the 66.5 million estimated by analysts, according to a poll by Fortune. That’s 46 percent more devices than the record 51 million sold in the year-earlier quarter. This was the first full quarter of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales since their debut.

Apple also projected strong sales for the current quarter thanks to continued demand for its newest models, which went on sale in September. The iPhone’s success came at the expense of the iPadtablet, which posted its fourth consecutive decline as consumers opted for large phones over Apple’s tablet computers.

“We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday in a statement. “The execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”

Apple reported that net income rose to $18 billion, or $3.06 a share, from $13.1 billion, or $2.07 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected earnings of $2.60 a share.

Sales for the period ended December 27 jumped 30 percent to $74.6 billion, well above the $67.69 billion projected by Wall Street.

Gross margin grew to 39.9 percent from 37.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had projected 38.5 percent. Apple’s gross margin, a measure of sales after removing costs like manufacturing, has fallen since its high of 47.4 percent in early 2012 as customers opt for lower-cost devices.

For the fiscal second quarter, which ends in March, Apple projected revenue of $52 billion to $55 billion, largely in line with the $53.79 billion forecast by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters. Apple typically forecasts lower sales than analysts estimate.

Author: Shara Tibken

Source: Cnet