Enlarge /. Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple announced its fourth quarter earnings after the bell today, and it was an odd quarter as that quarter's numbers didn't include an iPhone launch unlike some previous years (including last year). The various models of the iPhone 12 will be shipped in October and November instead of September this year.
CEO Tim Cook proudly announced double-digit year-over-year growth in all product categories except the iPhone, but the iPhone matters: Apple's total sales grew just 1 percent year-over-year, and iPhone sales nearly 21 percent.
While the iPhone didn't help improve the bottom line, Apple launched other products during the reporting period, including the redesigned iPad Air and two Apple Watches: the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. IPad sales jumped a whopping 46 percent year-over-year ($ 6.8 billion total), and Mac sales were also strong at $ 9 billion, or 28 percent higher than the prior-year quarter.
Apple's increasing emphasis on services is a well-worn story at this point, but it continued in Cook's remarks to investors on the profit call. Services grew 16.3 percent year-over-year to $ 14.55 billion – more revenue than any other product category except iPhone ($ 26.44 billion this quarter).
Cook specifically named Apple TV + a good quarter. The streaming service seemed to have gotten off to a slow start around this time to outsiders last year – especially in contrast to the hugely successful Disney +, which started the service almost at the same time. But Cook spoke positively of Apple TV + and described the series Ted Lasso as a remarkable success. The sports comedy starring Jason Sudeikis has been recognized for its positive, uplifting vibes and may be Apple TV + 's biggest hit to date – although Apple hasn't released as many numbers on Apple TV + viewership as many would like.
Apple also again declined to provide guidance for the next quarter – a practice Apple and a few other companies followed, given the global uncertainties throughout the pandemic. Some analysts had thought Apple could give a forecast again this quarter, but with COVID cases spiking in some regions (including the US) it doesn't seem to be in sight yet.
That means analysts, investors, and other watchers have no idea how well Apple expects the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro to sell. Two of four new iPhone models are currently being shipped this season. Hence, we'll see these numbers in the next quarter – which is usually Apple's best because of new iPhone sales.
Apple shares lost around 5 percent in value after the close of trading as some investors were disappointed that the surge in iPad and Mac sales wasn't enough to offset the iPhone's short-term decline. However, earnings reported by Apple were exactly in line with analysts' expectations for the quarter.