Bothering to upgrade the iPhone 12 over older models has proven to be worth its weight in gold for Apple

Apple is making bank in a pandemic – as millennials might say. The company last night reported doubles all round as demand for its latest blower ballooned, and customers locked indoors due to coronavirus countermeasures lapped up Macs and iPads.

For the company’s Q1 of fiscal 2021 ended 26 December – seasonally Apple’s strongest quarter of the year – revenue bounced 21 per cent year-on-year to a whopping $111.4bn.

The iPhone – Apple’s hottest seller – brought in revenues of $65.597bn, up 17 per cent, “as demand for the iPhone 12 family was very strong despite COVID-19 and social distancing measures, which have impacted store operations in a significant manner,” said chief financial officer Luca Maestri.

The release of the latest handset came later in the year – four weeks into Apple’s Q4 to be exact – than is typical. As a result, customers who wanted to swap out their older device in favour of the 12 had waited for it to arrive.

“Looking at the iPhone 12 family, we saw both switchers and upgraders increase on a year-over-year basis. And in fact, we saw the largest number of upgraders that we’ve ever seen in a quarter,” said CEO Tim Cook.

Mac sales jumped 21 per cent on a year ago to $8.675bn. Maestri said this was due to orders for the “MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini, all powered by our brand-new M1 chip.” The iPad was up 41 per cent to $8.435bn, helped by the new iPad Air.

The Wearables, Home and Accessories (WHA) division reported turnover of $12.971bn, up 30 per cent. And the Services division, which includes the App Store, cloud services, Music, advertising, Apple Care, and payment services, brought in $15.76bn, up 24 per cent. There are now 600 million subscribers to Apple Services, 35 million of those joining in Q1.

Net profit was up 29 per cent to $28.755bn.

Apple isn’t providing financial outlooks for the current year, which is understandable given the unpredictable nature pandemics, but the CFO said he’d provide some “directional insights”, saying the Services business will have a tougher year-on-year comparison due to the pace of expansion in Q2 of Apple’s fiscal 2020 and that WHA will “decelerate” compared to the last. ®