Apple Inc. finished 2020 with its most profitable quarter ever, fueled by an uptick in higher-end iPhone sales and a pandemic-induced surge in demand for its laptops and tablets.
All together, the Cupertino, Calif., company generated $111.4 billion in quarterly sales, an all-time high and the first time it has topped $100 billion in quarterly revenue. Profit rose 29% to $28.76 billion in the three months ended in December, its fiscal first quarter. On a per-share basis, Apple said it earned $1.68, exceeding the $1.41 predicted by analysts in a FactSet survey.
The results arrived Wednesday during the biggest week for corporate earnings this quarter and on the same day Tesla Inc. and Facebook Inc. posted closely watched profits. Facebook reported record net income but also warned that uncertainty from regulatory probes and ad-targeting limits could create business headwinds. Tesla posted its sixth-straight quarter of profits but fell in after-market trading after noting its bottom line was weighed down by supply chain costs and preparations for updated vehicles.
“We could not be more optimistic,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in an interview about the company’s product lineup.
Apple shares rose 81% in 2020 and are up about 7% this year through Wednesday’s close on investor enthusiasm around its latest iPhone and heightened spending on its products from consumers working, going to school and seeking entertainment while stuck at home. It is one of a number of tech companies whose outsize performance contrasts with the millions of Americans out of work amid the global pandemic.