Before Apple's earnings report, several bullish analysts debated (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-earnings-iphone-expectations-are-down-but-anxiety-is-still-high-2018-04-27) whether Apple's supposed rebound in China - a few recent quarters of growth after a string of declines - was for real.
The company's net income for the second quarter was Dollars 13.8 billion, up from USD 11 billion a year ago.
This growth was largely credited to the iPhone, with Apple flogging 52.2 million smartphones during the three-month period, up three per cent on a year ago.
"We're thrilled to report our best March quarter ever, with strong revenue growth in iPhone, Services and Wearables", Tim Cook said in a press release.
Wall Street was also cheered by the announcement of $100bn in share buybacks, doubling the reward for investors compared to the same period previous year.
From the inception of its capital return program in August 2012 through to March this year, Apple said it had returned $275bn to shareholders, including $200bn in share repurchases. However, it was almost 10 percent down from $796 in the first quarter, a sign that the iPhone X (starting at $999) wasn't driving the majority of sales. The technology giant sold 52.2 million iPhone devices, it was said, which resulted in shares going up 3.6 per cent, to $175.25 after hours. - Tim also noted that Apple's wearables business is now the size of a "Fortune 300" company, reporting that wearables revenue was up nearly 50 percent from sales of AirPods, Beats, and of course, Apple Watch.
The earnings announced after the closing bell also put to rest questions surrounding the demand for Apple products, primarily the iPhone, in China.
Apple previously promised to hire 20,000 more workers during the next five years, including some at a planned new campus in a still-to-be-identified United States city outside California. The latest figures were boosted by growth in all of its geographical segments, most notably in China and Japan, which saw growth of 20 percent.
On a conference call, Cook downplayed the notion of a brewing trade war between the USA and China, noting that the iPhone was "the most popular smartphone in all of China" in the second quarter.
Analysts had feared the iPhone X model's $999 (roughly £730) price tag could have muted demand for the handsets.
Total sales of iPhone models during the January-March period dropped 32 percent to 52.2 million units from 77.3 million units in the October-December period past year.
Along with the new authorization, the Board of Directors has also approved a 16% increase in the company's quarterly dividend. HomePod sales weren't broken out and neither Cook nor CFO Luca Maestri had much to say about Apple's new smart speaker.
For the upcoming quarter, Apple projected revenue between $51.5 billion and $53.5 billion, a gross margin of 38-38.5 percent, operating expenses between $7.7 billion and $7.8 billion and other incomes/expenses of $400 million, with an applicable tax rate of 14.5 percent.
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