Apple’s growth prospects are looking brighter ahead of its iPhone 6 launch, with strong sales in China boosted its profits- but its iPad sales are falling as tablet competition heats up.
Apple’s profits rose 12% to $7.75bn (£4.5bn) in the third quarter as revenue surged 28% in China, despite heavy competition in its third-largest market.
Apple sold 35.2 million iPhones in total over the three months, with chief executive Tim Cook describing Apple’s Chinese performance as “honestly surprising” given its continuing struggles in its biggest markets of Europe and the US.
Lower-cost phones sold in China by up-and-coming rivals such as Xiaomi appeared to be grabbing market share mainly from other companies that rely on Google’s Android software, Apple said.
Market leader Samsung admitted earlier this month that its new Galaxy S5 had sold more slowly than expected in the face of severe competition.
However, Apple’s results highlighted a slump in iPad sales to half their pre-Christmas high.
Many expect Apple to now make a play for the wearable device market with a smart watch, dubbed iWatch, and introduce two iPhone versions later this year including a 5.5-inch screen model that thrusts Apple into the market for larger-sized phones.
Apple’s results also benefited from strong sales of Mac computers. It sold 4.4 million Macs, up about 18 percent from its third quarter last year. Mac sales brought in $5.5 billion in revenue, up 13 percent from the same period last year.
Apple doesn’t provide specific earnings guidance, but said it expects fiscal fourth-quarter sales of $37 billion to $40 billion. Its expense forecast for the quarter implies that Apple expects to earn $6.7 billion to $7.9 billion for the period. That works out to $1.11 to $1.31 a share, assuming the company’s share count remains about the same as it was in its third quarter.
Apple’s shares have risen 25 percent over the past three months amid expectations that the company will release a slew of new products.
Watch this Bloomberg video discussing Apple’s future here: