Business

Apple rides on strong iPhone 7 Plus sales, beats Wall Street expectations

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple reclaimed the throne as the world's top smartphone seller for the first time in five years on Tuesday.

It beat rival Samsung in units shipped for the holiday quarter and boosted revenues with a strong showing for its new, top-of-the-line iPhone 7 Plus.

The iPhone sales numbers, and a profit of almost US$18 billion (S$25.4 billion), both handily beat Wall Street expectations, sending its shares up 3 per cent in after-hours trading.

But the gains were tempered by Apple's cautious outlook for the current quarter, which it mainly attributed to the strong US dollar.

A strong dollar hurts companies like Apple that sell a majority of their products overseas by forcing them to raise prices.

Apple sold 78.29 million iPhones in the fiscal first quarter ended Dec 31 last year, up from 74.78 million the year before.

Analysts, on average, had expected 77.42 million, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

That beat Samsung Electronics' 77.5 million smartphone sales in the quarter, according to tech data firm Strategy Analytics, the first time that has happened since the fourth quarter of 2011.

Apple may also have benefited from Samsung's much-publicised recall of its fire-prone Galaxy Note7.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said demand was especially high for the larger iPhone 7 Plus in the fiscal first quarter. - REUTERS

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