Apple posted record top-line results for the September quarter even as iPhone sales slipped 21 per cent from a year ago, demonstrating that the tech group is benefiting from the growth of services, hardware and accessories.

Apple reported $64.7bn of revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter ending in September, compared with expectations of $64bn.

Revenue from iPhone sales last quarter amounted to $26.4bn, versus $33.4bn a year ago, as a result of the delayed launch of the iPhone 12. Usually the latest iPhone is sold during the final two weeks of the second quarter.

The results will increase expectations that the iPhone maker is poised for a record holiday quarter on the back of the new iPhone 12 line-up. However, Apple declined to offer a projection for the December quarter.

“Outside of iPhone, the company grew 25 per cent year over year,” Luca Maestri, chief financial officer, told the Financial Times. He noted the fiscal year results included new records for revenue, earnings per share and free cash flow.

“If you think about the macro environment we’re in and the sheer size of our company, it’s just spectacular,” he said. “We grew Mac 29 per cent, iPad 46 per cent, wearables and accessories 21 per cent and we set a new all-time record for services — up 16 per cent.”

The report contained two big disappointments. Net income fell 7.4 per cent to $12.7bn and revenues in greater China fell 28.6 per cent to $7.9bn.

Mr Maestri said both were a result of the delayed launch of the iPhone 12.

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“We had new iPhones in China a year ago, this year we didn’t,” he said. “We’ll be growing in China in the December quarter,” he said.

Analysts are expecting a record quarter in December thanks to the four-model line-up of iPhone 12 units introduced earlier this month by Tim Cook, chief executive, who said they signalled a “new era”. In the holiday period a year ago, Apple posted a record $91.8bn in revenue.

“Despite the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, Apple is in the midst of our most prolific product introduction period ever,” Mr Cook said in a statement. “The early response to all our new products, led by our first 5G-enabled iPhone line-up, has been tremendously positive.”

The better than expected results were led by “all-time records for Mac and Services”, Mr Cook said.

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Via Financial Times