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An Apple shop in Bangkok. Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

Apple posted better-than-expected results for its fiscal very first quarter as customer snapped up iPhones, Macs, iPads and other Apple items at an excellent rate. Sales topped Wall Street’s expectations in every category.

Heading into the quarter, Wall Street analysts’ expectations were driven in specific by the potential for a blowout quarter for iPhone sales, after the recent launch of the iPhone 12 lineup. And Apple (ticker: AAPL) delivered.

On a conference call with experts, CEO Tim Cook said the company passed 1.65 billion overall installed devices worldwide in the quarter, with the installed base of iPhone topping 1 billion. He also said the business had record income in all geographical areas.

In general, Apple published revenue of $111.4 billion, up 21% from the year-earlier quarter, and profits of $1.68 a share. That was well above the Street consensus at $102.8 billion and $1.40 a share.

Apple published iPhone profits in the quarter of $65.6. billion, up 17% from a year earlier, well above the Street agreement of $59.6 billion as tracked by FactSet.

The three months ended Dec. 31 were likewise strong for laptops and tables. For iPads, sales were $8.4 billion, up 41%, and ahead of the Street at $7.4 billion. For Macs, which got a boost from both the arrival of the first models powered by Apple’s homegrown M1 processor and the continuing pick-up in demand triggered by the stay-at-home pattern, sales were $8.7 billion, up 21%, and somewhat above the Street’s projection of $8.6 billion.

Wearables sales were strong also, growing 30% to $13 billion, ahead of the Street at $11.5 billion. And services income leapt 24% to $15.7 billion, ahead of the Street agreement at $15.2 billion.

Sales were up 12% in the Americas, 17% in Europe, and 57% in Greater China, with gains of 33% in Japan and 11.5% in the rest of Asia.

“Our December quarter service efficiency was fueled by double-digit growth in each product category, which drove all-time earnings records in each of our geographic segments and an all-time high for our installed base of active gadgets,” CFO Luca Maestri stated in a declaration. “These outcomes helped us produce record operating capital of $38.8 billion. We also returned over $30 billion to shareholders during the quarter as we keep our target of reaching a net money neutral position in time.”

The company said it bought $24.8 billion of stock in the quarter.

Apple didn’t offer financial projections in the release. For the seasonally softer March quarter, the Street’s consensus expectation has actually been for $74 billion in profits and revenues of 90 cents a share.

Maestri said on the call that offered continuous unpredictability due to the pandemic, the business once again is not supplying information about the outlook for profits and revenues. However the company stated that it does expect earnings development to accelerate on a year over year basis. He said the company anticipates some deceleration sequentially in services growth, due to a hard year-ago comparison, and that it likewise anticipates slower growth in wearables.

Gross margin in the latest quarter was 39.8%, up from 38.4% a year earlier. The lead to the current quarter is expected to be in line with the more current figure.

After an 82% rally in 2020, the stock has actually included another 7% this year. The stock stays the biggest business in the world by market capitalization, with an appraisal of just under $2.4 trillion.

The company completed the quarter with $196 billion in money and securities, offset by $112 billion in overall financial obligation, for net cash of $84 billion, the CFO said.

Write to Eric J. Savitz at eric.savitz@barrons.com!.?.!