Apple projects record holiday sales on iphone X demand

Steve Phelps
November 3, 2017

Positive reviews for the new device and expectations that many users are on the verge of upgrading from older iPhones have sent Apple's stock to record highs, pushing it closer to becoming the first publicly listed company with a stock market value above $1 trillion.

It sold 46.6 million iPhones, in line with forecasts of 46 million and up from 45.5 million a year ago.

But this year, Apple shifted its sales strategy to introduce two new slightly improved models, the 8 and 8 Plus, and a third phone, the X. iPhone 8's went on sale September 22, but Apple held back the big guns for November 3, when the state-of-the art, $999 X hits store shelves.

This quarter Apple sales numbers out-reach that of their previous highs, making this the best fiscal fourth quarter the company has ever had. The combo of new iPad Pro models alongside the cheap but excellent standard iPad led to 10.3 million tablets sold for Apple, up 11 percent year-over-year. Apple shares have risen about 50 percent over the past year, with a market capitalization of over $850 billion as of Thursday afternoon. Shares, which closed at $168.11 per share, were up almost 3 percent after the report. Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2018 first quarter: ● revenue between $84 billion and $87 billion ● gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent ● operating expenses between $7.65 billion and $7.75 billion ● other income/(expense) of $600 million ● tax rate of 25.5 percent Apple's board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.63 per share of the Company's common stock.

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Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters on Thursday the company was "quite happy" with how manufacturing of the iPhone X was progressing, noting that "production is growing every week, and that's very, very important during a ramp period".

"I saw many friends were posting pictures of themselves successfully ordering the iPhone X, so I cancelled mine", said Tony Tong, 29, a product manager at a tech firm in Beijing, who said he had ordered four phones in the hope of re-selling them for a profit. Revenue hit $3.23 billion in the last quarter, up 36 percent year-over-year. While that only represents a 2% increase year-over-year, Apple's other products more than picked up the slack.

Apple also said it returned to revenue growth in China, bringing in $9.8 billion versus $8 billion a year ago. This was Apple's fiscal 2017 fourth quarter white ended September 30, 2017.

Nearly two-thirds of Apple's sales, 62 percent, came from global sales.

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