With the launch of the top-of-the line iPhone 7 Plus Apple reclaimed the throne as the world's top smartphone seller. Beating out rival Samsung in units shipped for the holiday quarter and boosting revenues with a strong showing for iPhone 7 Plus, Apple once again became the top most player after five years.
The iPhone sales numbers and the profit of almost $18 billion both beat the expectations of Wall Street and Apple's shares rose 3 percent in after-hours trading.
Apple sold over 78.29 million iPhones beating Samsung, which sold 77.5 million smartphones in the first quarter of the financial year that ended on December 31, 2016. According to research firm FactSet StreetAccount, experts had predicted sales of around 77.42 million. Last year the number was 74.78 million. And Apple has managed to beat Samsung for the first time in five years since 2011, says tech data firm Strategy Analytics.
This achievement of Apple is huge and more so because it comes at a time when the global demand for smartphones is slowing down and cheaper alternatives are flooding the market. Also, Samsung's Galaxy S7 explosion disaster, which is by far one of the worst product disasters in tech industry so far, also added to the enormous success of Apple. However, Apple's revenue from the Greater China region fell 11.6 percent to $16.23 billion for the quarter but the Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri cast the numbers as positive.
But the gains were tempered by Apple's cautious outlook for the current quarter, which it mainly attributed to the strong U.S. dollar, which hurts companies like Apple that sell a majority of their products overseas.
Although Apple has products like MacBook, Apple Watch, iPad and so on, it is heavily dependent on the sale of iPhones, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the total revenue.
Revenue in the services business - which includes the App Store, Apple Pay and iCloud - jumped 18.4 percent to $7.17 billion, helped by the popularity of games, including Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run, and increased revenue from subscriptions.
Apple is still looking for major sources of growth as Apple TV struggles to set itself apart from competitors and as it plans to enter the autonomous driving market. The company said Apple Watch sales set a record last quarter, but provided no numbers. The market and the users are exceptionally excited about the launch of Apple's 10th anniversary special iPhone, which is supposed to be released this September.