The Mac and iPad did well again, but their success might slow down as the world reopens
Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup maintained enormously strong demand from consumers from January through March, according to the company’s fiscal Q2 earnings posted today. Apple reported record March quarter revenue of $89.6 billion, up 54 percent year over year. The iPhone took in just under $48 billion, jumping up by 66 percent from a year ago.
Sales of Mac and iPad hardware also surged for yet another quarter, up 70 and 78 percent respectively, due in part to continued remote work and schooling necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. That success might slow down as some regions of the world return to a sense of normalcy, so most eyes — as usual — are on the iPhone. It’s been reported that the iPhone 12 mini isn’t doing as well as Apple hoped, but other models are clearly hits with consumers. “This family of devices is popular with both upgrades and new customers alike,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said on the afternoon earnings call.
These Q2 earnings follow a historic, blowout December quarter for Apple that saw the company surpass $100 billion in revenue for the first time in its history. But now focus has shifted to how Apple will perform in the second half of the year and whether the iPhone 12 devices, Apple’s first to offer 5G data, have indeed sparked the huge upgrade cycle that some analysts had thought was likely.
Just last week, Apple held its first event of 2021 and introduced new products including a purple iPhone 12, a redesigned iMac powered by the M1 chip, updated iPad Pro tablets, a faster Apple TV 4K streaming box, and the long-rumored AirTag item tracker. The iPhone and AirTags go on sale April 30th, which is when Apple will begin taking preorders for its other newly announced hardware. An all-new MacBook Pro is expected to follow in the coming weeks — likely at Apple’s WWDC keynote.
Apple’s fiscal second quarter earnings come with a legal backdrop: the company faces an imminent courtroom battle with Fortnite developer Epic Games. Depositions from both companies have already been filed, and senior executives are expected to provide extensive testimony starting next week.
Even with Apple’s services business — up to a record-high $16.9 billion from $13.3 billion in the year-ago quarter — and hardware on such an upward trajectory, investors and consumers continue to await the next major device that will push the company into a new product category. Rumors have long suggested that AR and VR headsets are in Apple’s future; software boss Craig Federighi recently told The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Sternthat mixed reality tech “deserves exploration.” In an earlier interview with Kara Swisher, CEO Tim Cook described AR as “critically important” to Apple’s future.
And then there are the long-running reports of an eventual Apple-made electric car; back in February, Nissan and Hyundai both downplayed discussions the automakers were rumored to have held with Apple on the subject.