A thoroughly unexpected rise in sales of iPad tablet computers saw Apple top analyst expectations during its fiscal third quarter.
Apple shipped 11.4 million iPads during the three months to the end of June, a 15 per cent increase compared to the 9.95 million shipped during the same quarter a year ago. This marks the first time since 2014 that Apple has managed to increase iPad sales year-over-year on a quarterly basis.
No doubt adding to Apple's smugness, analysts had forecasted a decline in sales, predicting that Apple would sell between 7 to 9.8 million tablets during the quarter.
Apple CEO Tim Cook credited this unexpected growth for the iPad Pro in the enterprise, along with increased education adoption, with iPad sales to schools up 32 per cent year on year.
The firm also introduced a new 'entry-level' iPad earlier this year, which offers similar specs to the iPad Pro, but at a lower £399 price point.
Elsewhere, iPhone sales remained largely flat during the third quarter, with shipments up two per cent year on year to 41 million. However, Apple is expecting a bumper fourth quarter thanks to the upcoming iPhone 8. Cook said the firm is predicting revenues of $49bn-$52bn, dashing rumours that the handset will be delayed.
Mac sales were also flat at 4.2 million compared to the third quarter of 2016.
Apple's services division, which includes sales from iTunes and the App Store, saw 22 per cent growth during the quarter, bringing in revenues of $7.3bn.
Overall, Apple posted third quarter revenues of $45.4bn, up seven per cent from $42.4bn in the third quarter of 2016. Profit for the three months came in at $8.7bn, up from $7.8bn the year-ago quarter.
This, naturally, had Cook rubbing his hands together in glee.
"With revenue up seven per cent year-over-year, we're happy to report our third consecutive quarter of accelerating growth and an all-time quarterly record for Services revenue," said he said.
"We hosted an incredibly successful Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and we're very excited about the advances in iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS coming this fall."
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