Apple sales beat estimates on demand for latest iPhones

Apple Inc. reported quarterly revenue that topped analyst projections, fuelled by demand for the company’s latest and priciest iPhones. Apple said sales rose 3.3 per cent to $78.4 billion, with earnings of $3.36 a share in the three months through December 31. Analysts forecast profit of $3.22 a share on revenue of $77.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The shares gained as much as 3.5 per cent in extended trading, after the results. “We were surprised by the strength of iPhone 7 Plus where we were actually short of supply throughout the quarter. We’ve been able to come into supply-demand balance in January," Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said Tuesday in a telephone interview. Introduced in September, the iPhone 7 represented a modest update to its predecessor, the 6S, adding water resistance, an improved camera, battery life and processor while retaining similar styling. Expectations are mounting for a more significant upgrade to Apple’s flagship product later this year, which is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone’s launch. Apple said it sold 78.3 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2016, generating $54.4 billion in revenue in the period. The average sales price for each iPhone was $695, compared with $691 a year earlier. Analysts had forecast iPhone unit sales of 76.3 million and an average selling price of $688, according to a Bloomberg News survey. That suggested consumers are still eager to snap up Apple’s latest models, which bodes well for future product launches. (Alex Webb/Bloomberg)

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