Apple reports most successful year ever as iPhone sales rise

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Tech giant reports revenue of $51.5bn, up 22% compared with same period last year.

It will have another record holiday. The Cupertino, California-based company said fiscal first-quarter sales will be $75.5 billion to $77.5 billion, topping last year’s record.

Revenue is being fueled by demand for the latest iPhones and sales in China. Analysts on average projected $77.1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Apple’s sheer size means growth is tougher to achieve. As iPad tablet sales decline and adoption of Apple Watch remains modest, the company’s expansion has become increasingly dependent on demand for new iPhones.

Apple shares rose 1.7 per cent in extended trading, after falling less than 1 per cent to $114.55 at the close in New York.

For all of fiscal 2015, Apple reported total sales of $233.7 billion. Net income grew 35 per cent to $53.4 billion for the year.

Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, said Apple isn’t concerned about slowing growth and that changes in foreign-exchange rates weighed on the company’s results.

“When you look at the type of revenue growth we had throughout 2015, it’s difficult to repeat those types of numbers, but given our size we feel very good about our prospects for the future,” he said in an interview.

Apple’s stock has fallen more than 12 per cent since its last earnings report in July amid concerns about slowing growth. The stock’s performance shows the fickle nature of Wall Street. While Apple is the world’s most valuable company, and has a balance sheet that other companies envy, many investors make decisions largely based on the outlook for future growth.

Apple faced a similar challenge in 2013, when sales slowed amid competition from Samsung.

“They get graded on a curve,” JMP’s Gauna said. “In technology, there are the quick and the dead, so Apple needs to be on the side of the quick.”

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