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Slow iPhone sales didn’t stop Apple from its best Q4 revenue ever

Apple today reported its fiscal fourth quarter 2019 earnings, which saw the company earn a record $64 billion in revenue. The news reflects the general trend with Apple over the past year: iPhone sales are down, but service revenue hit an all-time high. In other words, Apple’s strategy to de-emphasize hardware sales and bet more on subscription services seems to be working.

That $64 billion in revenue is up 2 percent year over year compared to Q4 2018, with quarterly earnings per diluted share of $3.03, up 4 percent from Q4 2018.

But iPhone sales — still Apple’s biggest moneymaker — continued to decline compared to last year, bringing in $33.36 billion in revenue compared to $36.76 billion last year, a drop of roughly 9.2 percent. On the flip side, Apple reported that it had reached a record high for its services business, which brought in $12.5 billion in Q4 (compared to $11.46 billion last quarter, and $10.6 billion year over year). Apple says it now has “over 450 million paid subscriptions across the services on our platform, compared to over 330 million just a year ago.”

Mac revenue was also down nearly 5 percent to $6.99 billion, although iPads ($4.65 billion in revenue) and Apple’s wearables / home / accessories unit ($6.52 billion in revenue) both saw sizable jumps compared to last year.

Notably, Apple’s new service record comes before the launch of Apple TV Plus, perhaps its biggest bet yet on selling consumer subscriptions (although the number does include Apple’s new Arcade games service, which launched back in September).

“We concluded a groundbreaking fiscal 2019 with our highest Q4 revenue ever, fueled by accelerating growth from Services, Wearables and iPad,” commented Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a press release. “With customers and reviewers raving about the new generation of iPhones, today’s debut of new, noise-cancelling AirPods Pro, the hotly-anticipated arrival of Apple TV+ just two days away, and our best lineup of products and services ever, we’re very optimistic about what the holiday quarter has in store.”

Apple’s next quarter will be an interesting one, given that its Q1 quarter tends to include the bulk of its holiday sales, as well as the fact that it’ll be the first to include the upcoming TV Plus service. The company is forecasting revenue for Q1 2020 between $85.5 billion and $89.5 billion, compared to the $84.3 billion it made in Q1 2019.

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