Apple closes in on trillion dollar status

Apple could become the world's first trillion dollar company today

According to CNN, analysts expected Apple to sell nearly 42 million iPhones, less than last quarter, as a result of users already owning the newest models or waiting for newer ones. Fiscal third-quarter results also beat Wall Street expectations.

Shares of the company are up 13.44% since the beginning of 2018. Investors sent the company's stock up $7.31, or close to 4%, in after-hours trading. Apple's Mac unit, which has been drawing complaints from consumers, reported a 5 percent drop in sales. Interestingly, there were no specific statements about the Indian market, where Apple has not had a great quarter as per local analysts, except for the comment in the earnings call that it was one of the markets were the Mac had shown double digit growth. That's inline with sales from Q3 2017, when Apple sold 41 million smartphones.

Globally, higher selling prices for devices like the iPhone X and iPhone 8 pleased Wall Street analysts. The iPhone's ASP is an important indicator of the kind of iPhones people bought in the quarter.

The company's chief financial officer Luca Maestri said customers were buying costlier models, and the $US999 iPhone X was the best seller. In the last quarter, Apple's services made $9.5 billion, making it the second-largest business segment for the firm.

Apple's guidance for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 includes expected revenue of $60-62 billion and gross margin between 38 and 38.5 percent.

iPhone shipments totaled 41.3 million, or an increase of 1% on the year.

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Apple also reported a 37 per cent increase, to Dollars 3.7 billion, in the division for miscellaneous hardware, including Apple Watch and the HomePod smart speaker. Other potential tariffs on the horizon could, though, and Cook said he was "optimistic that the countries will get through this" and that Apple is "hoping that calm has prevailed". Apple also regained growth in China, where sales rose 19 per cent.

The firm said its £999 iPhone X - launched previous year - remained its most popular iPhone model in the quarter and had driven the higher selling prices. Analysts expected revenue of US$52.4 billion and earnings of US$2.18 a share.

Despite the trade war, China remains one of Apple's best markets, posting double-digit revenue growth in the country for the fourth quarter in a row, Cook said.

Overall, revenue was up 17% year-over-year at $53.3 billion, a June quarter record. Along with various online TV, news and publishing, gaming and cloud-hosting services, Apple is targeting $50bn in annual services revenues by 2020.

There is also a sense that the days of soar-away sales are behind the mobile phone industry and investors are now more focused on Apple's services business - which includes Apple Music, iCloud and Apple Pay - for future growth.

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