Apple’s first-quarter earnings were blow-out numbers. Far beyond what anyone forecast, the figures show Apple arguably had the single-greatest quarterly performance in U.S. corporate history.
A quick overview: Apple’s net profit of $18 billion is an astonishing gain of 38 percent over the already-huge $13.1 billion in the same quarter last year. (So much for the law of large numbers.) Earnings per share rose 48 percent on revenue of $74.6 billion, up a staggering 30 percent.
How did Apple rack up such gigantic sales numbers? It begins with the company’s flagship product, the iPhone. It sold an astonishing 74.5 million of them in the quarter, a gain of 46 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. What’s more, the phones sold for an average of $687. (The Wall Street Journal calculated that Apple sold 34,000 phones an hour, 24/7.)
Revenue in China rose 70 percent to $16.1 billion, making it Apple’s third-largest market by sales, after the U.S. and Europe. In the near future, China will probably overtake Europe as Apple’s second-biggest market. At the risk of extrapolating to infinity, it isn’t hard to imagine the day when China also surpasses the U.S. as Apple’s biggest market.
The rest of the numbers were, by all accounts, stupendous, enormous, mind-blowing, record-breaking. Yet it seems analysts were, once again, blindsided by the data.
How is it even remotely possible that Wall Street analysts have no idea what the biggest company in the world is doing?