iPhone, Mac and App Store drive Apple’s best ever March quarter

Apple has reported revenue of $58bn and net profit of $13.6bn for the quarter ending 28 March 2015

Apple has reported revenue of $58bn and net profit of $13.6bn for the quarter ending 28 March 2015, increases of 27% and 33% respectively compared with the same period a year ago.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the best ever March quarter results were driven by the “continued strength” of the iPhone, Mac and App Store.

“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,” he said.

However, despite record sales of iPhone and Mac for the quarter and an all-time record performance of the App Store, iPad sales were down 23% compared with the same period a year ago.

Apple sold 12.62 million iPads in the quarter, which translates to roughly $5.43bn in sales. Mac sales were higher at $5.6bn, marking the first time Mac revenue surpassed iPad revenue, reports Business Insider.

Sales growth for the iPad has declined in each of the last eight quarters. Analysts have ascribed the decline to fewer updates than the iPhone and the introduction of larger iPhones.

However, some analysts expect iPad sales to increase once Apple's partnership with IBM begins driving enterprise market demand.

The quarterly results exclude the new Apple smartwatch, which recently began deliveries in nine countries, but Cook said during a conference call that the response has been "overwhelmingly positive".

The company has reportedly ordered up to six million units from its suppliers in Asia, but Cook admitted that demand was outstripping supply, according to The Telegraph.

International sales accounted for 69% of the quarter’s revenue, with a major contributor being the expansion of iPhone sales in China.

Revenue for China rose by 71% to $16.8bn for the quarter, allowing the region to overtake Europe as Apple's second-largest market.

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Apple announced separately it is increasing its share repurchase scheme by $50bn to $140bn and boosting its quarterly dividends by 11%, which some commentators said appears to be a concession to shareholders who fear the company is stockpiling too much cash.

"We believe Apple has a bright future ahead, and the unprecedented size of our capital return program reflects that strong confidence," said Cook.

"While most of our programme will focus on buying back shares, we know the dividend is very important to many of our investors, so we're rising it for the third time in less than three years," he said.

For the next quarter, Apple expects revenue of between $46bn and $48bn.

The news was welcomed by investors, pushing Apple’s share price up by 1.5% to $134.61 in after-hours sales, which has increased the company value to more than $770bn.

Developers will welcome the news that Apple continues to perform well with strong global expansion of its iOS mobile operating system, according to Danielle Levitas, senior vice-president of research and analysis at app market data and analytics firm App Annie.

“Add to this that starting this quarter, developers have a new platform to expand into – the Apple Watch – and together we see this as a sure-fire sign the app economy is still nascent and poised for more incredible growth,” she said.

Levitas believes the latest Apple financial results will reinforce the expanding opportunity for developers and their increasing potential to reap significant financial rewards from the growing iOS user and device-installed base.

“Although Google Play’s worldwide downloads in the first quarter of 2015 were approximately 70% higher than the iOS App Store, according to our data, the iOS App Store’s worldwide revenue in the same period was about 70% higher than on Google Play, demonstrating that iOS developers continue to monetise their apps more effectively,” she said.

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