Apple's $100 billion stock buyback overshadows iPhone

Apple logo. Reuters

So, for the past 12 quarters, Wall Street analysts have had to estimate Apple Watch sales by parsing data from Apple's "other products" line item and other sources.

"We're thrilled to report our best March quarter ever, with strong revenue growth in iPhone, Services and Wearables", said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.

Apple bought $23.5 billion of stock in the March quarter, and said it plans to hike its dividend 16 percent, compared with a 10.5 percent increase a year ago.

And Apple's services revenue, which includes iCloud and Apple Music subscriptions and its share of app sales, rose 31 per cent to US$9.2 billion.

Apple said that it had sold 52.2 million iPhones overall, slightly below analyst estimates of 52.5 million, according to market research firm FactSet.

Apple had also reported $13 billion in revenue from greater China during its second fiscal quarter - a 21 percent year-over-year spike. As a result, analysts had expected Apple to repatriate most of its $252bn in cash overseas.

Cook is under no illusion that the iPhone X didn't sell as well as Apple's own initial expectations, however he did reveal during the earnings call that customers chose the iPhone X over other models "each and every week" during the quarter.

"I don't buy the view that the market's saturated".

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Apple shares rose by as much as 4 percent in after-hours trading from a $169.10 close Tuesday.

Describing India as a "huge market", Cook said many people will be moving into the middle class over time in the country, referring to the tremendous consumer opportunity that presents to global companies. Welch Investments LLC grew its position in shares of Apple by 18.7% in the third quarter.

Analysts especially praised a big jump in revenues in Apple's services business, which is seen as an important element of diversification away from having revenues tied to gadgets.

"With our belief Apple will launch an iPhone X plus type combined with new improved features for the current sized iPhone X product, we believe Apple's iPhone franchise will extend strong sales of higher-priced iPhones through C2019", Walkley said. Apple did not offer any hard numbers of sales of its smart speaker, which went on sale in January.

The company said that it also sold 9.1 million iPad during the three month period, which is in-line with forecasts of 9.17 million units.

"We sold 4.1 million Macs, generating year-over-year growth in many emerging markets, including Latin America, West Asia and Africa, central and eastern Europe and India", Maestri said.

"Apple is benefiting from increased average selling price". The company also committed to announced it would use an extra $100 billion on share buyout program. The firm now has more flexibility to spend its cash without risking high tax payments, after recent changes tot he tax law.

Even if Apple does make headway in India or China - still its largest worldwide market - there is no guarantee its hardware partners would share in the spoils, given the U.S. company's reputation for squeezing suppliers to preserve its own margins. He said that the world "only wins if China and the US win" and said he is optimistic that the two countries can work out their differences. That pushes Apple's China revenue to be on par with its European revenue.

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