IPhone, iPad, Mac sales back on the rise

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Apple said it sold 46.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter ended September 30, above analysts' estimates of 46.4 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet. Apple does not break out unit sales for Apple Watch but Cook said growth was over 50%. The company's revenues were up 12 percent compared to the year-ago quarter (see "Despite $9 Billion Profit, Apple Revenues Slump Again in Q4 2016", 25 October 2016). The real question is: Can Apple fulfill demand, or will sales be hampered by previously-reported supply chain issues?

Of note - this quarter included the start of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus sales, but comes before the iPhone X went on sale.

This quarter Apple sales numbers out-reach that of their previous highs, making this the best fiscal fourth quarter the company has ever had. While conspiracy theorists might suspect that Apple is artificially reducing supply to generate buzz, analysts say the real reason is that Apple's suppliers so far haven't been able to manufacture the iPhone X quickly enough. The company is also set to sell the HomePod, a Siri-powered speaker to answer both Amazon's Echo line and Google's Home speakers.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus went on sale in October, boasting improvements to the camera and the addition of wireless charging. The delay may have prompted some buyers to wait to check out the iPhone X before deciding on its more affordable sibling.

Apple shipped 46.7 million iPhones during the period, according to its fiscal fourth-quarter report released Thursday.

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Wang Hao, a 24-year-old engineer in the northeastern port city of Dalian, said he ordered the new phone despite the high price tag.

Nearly two-thirds of Apple's sales, 62 percent, came from global sales.

The organic light-emitting diode technology used in iPhone X screens is now sourced from just one supplier, Samsung Display Co., while the array of components used to make the three-dimensional sensor have never previously been manufactured in the quantities required for the iPhone X, and suppliers have struggled to ramp up production effectively.

The release of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been somewhat overshadowed by the upcoming IPhone X launch, with reports suggesting demand for the 8 could be weaker than expected.

One of Apple's latest customer lock-in tools is an updated mobile operating system supporting augmented reality features and apps that can super-impose images and information onto a user's view of the real world.

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