Whose revenue beat Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tesla combined? The iPhone with $93bn

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By Noel Young | Correspondent

July 22, 2014 | 6 min read

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Apple is powering ahead. The company said last night that profit in the last quarter rose 12 percent to $7.75bn. iPhone and Mac sales jumped, helping to make up for a drop in iPad demand.

Tim Cook: More big news on the way

Apple sold 35.2 million iPhones and 4.4 million Macs, up 13 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

That helped boost revenue by 6 percent to $37.4bn in the fiscal third quarter ended June 28. IPad sales fell for the second straight quarter, to 13.3 million, the company said in a statement.

The vital importance of the iPhone is demonstrated by one astonishing fact: iPhone sales alone totaled $91.3bn last year, more than the revenue of Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tesla Motors combined.

Bloomberg said the quarterly results showed Apple is withstanding competition from smartphone manufacturers led by Samsung. Then there’s increasing anticipation for new devices that chief executive Tim Cook has said are in store.

The Cupertino, California-based company posted increasing profits for the second consecutive quarter after last year experiencing its first annual slide in at least a decade.

The gain, as well as optimism about coming products, has pushed Apple’s stock up more than 18 percent this year.

The results were mostly in line with analysts’ estimates and weren’t the blowout that investors have come to anticipate from the company, said Bloomberg.

Apple is also approaching one of its most critical product rollouts in years.

After facing questions about whether it can build breakthrough products without co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple is readying bigger-screen iPhones, a wearable gadget and an upgrade to its Apple TV set-top box, people familiar with the plans have said.

“We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce,” Cook said in the statement, referring to Apple’s new software.

Shares were little changed in extended trading, after gaining less than 1 percent to $94.72 at the close in New York.

One snag: Anticipation for new iPhones and other products is having a short-term drag on Apple’s results, chief financial officer Luca Maestri said in an interview.

Customers are putting off their purchases until a new model hits the market, especially in English-speaking countries where more is written about Apple’s product pipeline, he said.

“We’re seeing some purchase delays and we’ve reflected that in our guidance,” Maestri said. “It happens. We have to live with that.”

None of the coming product unveilings will be as important as the new iPhones, which are designed to capitalize on the consumer trend toward bigger handsets.

Demand for Apple’s other key product -- iPads -- has been held back by a saturating market filled with lower-cost alternatives and customers who are holding onto their tablets longer.

The drop in iPad sales is attributable to a market slowdown in the US and Western Europe, Maestri said. IPad sales rose in developing countries like China, where sales grew 51 per cent during the quarter, and India, where they rose 45 per cent, Maestri said.

All of that pressures Apple to keep customers coming back for the iPhone. Introduced in 2007, when the company’s annual sales were $24.6 billion, the device catapulted Apple to be the world’s most valuable company.

In addition to introducing bigger-screen models, Apple has been expanding distribution, including a partnership with International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) to sell the handset and iPad to big companies.

Apple also is less than a year into a deal to sell the iPhone through China Mobile Ltd., the world’s biggest phone carrier.

Apple has released a new iPhone each September for the past two years.

Anticipation for the bigger-screen models has contributed to the rise in Apple’s stock price, with analysts including Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity predicting the company will break sales records with the debut of large models.

Apple is set to release new iPhones with a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, people familiar with the plans have said.

The planned debuts follow Samsung and others, which have gained market share as customers gravitate toward bigger models. In China, about 40 per cent of mobile gadgets sold based on Google’s Android operating system in 2014 had display sizes of more than five inches, according to an estimate by Forrester Research.

But Apple’s reliance on the iPhone will remain .Bloomberg points out: If Apple sells 30 million units of a new wearable device in the first 12 months, it will generate about $9bn in revenue, according to Morgan Stanley. That’s equivalent to about five per cent of Apple’s $171bn in sales last year.

Apple also declared a dividend of 47 cents a share that will be payable on 14 Aug to shareholders of record as of 11 Aug. Through dividends and buybacks, Apple has now paid out $74bn as part of a $130bn capital return program that’s authorized for another six quarters. Apple had $164.5bn in cash and investments at the end of last quarter, with all but $27bn held outside the US, Maestri said.

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