Apple delivers higher profit as iPhone X launches

San Francisco: Apple profits rose on the back of strong iPhone sales in the past quarter, the company reported today, as the US tech giant begins selling its newest flagship handset.

Net profit rose 19 per cent from a year ago to USD 10.7 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter to September 30, Apple said. Revenues were up 12 per cent to USD 52.6 billion.

Release of the earnings figures pushed Apple shares up more than three percent to USD 173.20 and came as iPhone X models began hitting the market in some time zones.

Apple sold more iPhones, iPads and Mac computers than it did in the same quarter a year earlier. Smartphones sales climbed by about a million units to 46.7 million in the three months winding up the California company’s fiscal year, according to the earnings report.

“We’re happy to report a very strong finish to a great fiscal 2017, with record fourth quarter revenue, year-over- year growth for all our product categories, and our best quarter ever for services,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in the release.

“We’re looking forward to a great holiday season, and with the launch of iPhone X getting underway right now, we couldn’t be more excited as we begin to deliver our vision for the future with this stunning device.”

Apple closed out its fiscal year posting a full-year profit of USD 48.35 billion, up 5.8 per cent, on revenues of USD 229 billion, a rise of 6.3 per cent from the previous year.

In the latest quarter Apple was able to reverse its fortunes in China, boosting overall sales by 12 per cent in the “Greater China” region. Sales were up in other regions except for Japan, which saw an 11 per cent revenue drop.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights & Strategy, said “Apple crushed” with a strong quarterly report showing improvements in all product categories and a 34 per cent jump in services revenue.

Moorhead said concerns that iPhone sales would weaken as customers awaited the newest device were unfounded.

“Apple managed to thread the needle on iPhone sales between the giant interest in the iPhone X and what the company had to ship, which was iPhone 7 and 8,” he said.

With its new iPhone X launching Friday, Apple is setting the ambitious goal for itself of reinventing the smartphone as it strives to fend off fierce competition from rivals, especially in China.

The iPhone is the main profit driver for Apple, accounting for more than half its revenues, and importantly is the cornerstone for the ecosystem of other devices and services.

The flagship handset marking the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone release, was set to hit stores on Friday in about 50 markets around the world.