Apple Inc forecast current-quarter revenue largely above Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, helping to allay investor concerns about a possible delay in the launch of the iPhone's 10th-anniversary edition later this year, and sending its shares to an all-time high.
The world's most valuable technology company beat on every major top line metric, reporting better-than-expected fiscal third-quarter iPhone sales, revenue and analysts' earnings per share estimates.
The stock climbed above its intraday record high in late trade, up about 6 percent to $159.
Apple is widely tipped to adopt higher-resolution OLED displays for the latest iPhone, along with better touchscreen technology and wireless charging - which could come with a $1,000 plus price tag.
The company forecast total revenue of between $49 billion and $52 billion for the current quarter, while analysts on average were expecting $49.21 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Apple's fourth quarter generally includes first-weekend sales of the company's latest devices.
The company said iPhone sales rose 1.6 percent to 41.03 million in the third quarter ended July 1, above analysts' average estimate of 40.7 million units, according to FactSet StreetAccount. Applesold 40.4 million iPhones a year earlier.
But a lower average iPhone selling price of $606, well below Wall Street expectations of $621, caused iPhone revenue to come in at $24.8 billion, below expectations of $25.5 billion.
Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters the weak price was partly explained byApple reducing channel inventory by 3.3 million units, which he said were “entirely at the high end of the range.”
Apple reports how many phones it sells to retailers, not how many phones it sells to consumers, what is known as a sell-in basis. When factoring how many existing “high end” phones the company cleared out of retail inventory, Maestri said average selling prices were higher.
The company's net income rose to $8.72 billion, or $1.67 per share, from $7.80 billion, or $1.42 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose to $45.41 billion from $42.36 billion in the quarter, typically the company's weakest, beating expectations of $44.89 billion.
Apple's revenue from the Greater China region fell 9.5 percent to $8 billion in the latest quarter, as consumers switched to newer domestic offerings.
The decline was smaller than recent quarters. Apple's Maestri said mainland China revenue was flat, as were iPhone sales in the mainland. Sales of other Apple products rose in mainland China and were also up in Taiwan.
“The decline from a market standpoint was concentrated in Hong Kong, which is a place that has been really affected by a reduction in tourism because the Hong Kong Dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar,” Maestri said.
Strong iPad sales of $4.9 billion - almost $1 billion above Wall Street expectations - and a 21.6 percent jump in the company's services business that includes the App Store also helped boost revenue.
(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Bernard Orr)