Apple reported quarterly earnings Tuesday that managed to surpass even Wall Street's lofty expectations after analysts predicted a record quarter for the tech giant. Apple did, in fact, post record sales numbers following strong holiday sales that included a 46% increase in iPhone sales.
Here are the key points from Apple's earnings release for the first quarter of its 2015 financial year.
What you need to know: Wall Street was expecting huge numbers from the quarter, which included the holidays and the first full quarter of sales for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple certainly did not disappoint. In fact, the only surprise was just how much the company's sales improved.
Apple racked up $74.6 billion in revenue last quarter, a 29.5% gain on the same period a year before. Earlier on Tuesday, Fortune polled 35 analysts who expected revenue to increase by about 20%, to $68.7 billion, while Apple's own guidance for the quarter predicted $66.5 billion in quarterly revenue.
A larger-than-expected bump in holiday iPhone sales propelled Apple to record sales and the best quarterly earnings of any company ever. Apple reported a whopping $18 billion in first-quarter profits, or $3.08 per share. It tops the previous record-holder, Russia's GazProm, which recorded a $16 billion quarterly profit in 2011, while Exxon Mobil held the previous record for a U.S. company with nearly $15 billion in a quarter of 2008.
In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook thanked his company's customers "for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high."
Cook, who took over for Steve Jobs in 2011, has watched Apple's market value double during his tenure as CEO. The company's shares (aapl), which had been slightly down for the year, jumped nearly 5% in after-hours trading after the earnings report.
The company said it expects revenue between $52 billion and $55 billion in the current quarter.
The big number: This most recent quarter marked the first full fiscal quarter of sales for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, big sellers during the holiday season. Apple was expected to sell 67 million iPhone units during the quarter, which would have been quite the improvement over the 51 million the company sold during the same period a year earlier. Instead, Apple moved 74.5 million of the smartphones during the quarter — a 46% increase that accounted for $51.2 billion of the company's overall revenue last quarter.
Of course, that means that sales of just one product, the iPhone, comprised almost 69% of the company's overall quarterly revenue. Some analysts have expressed concern about Apple's dependence on the iPhone, particularly in a fickle smartphone market where consumers often change their tastes amid increasing choices from competitors. For now, though, there is no question that Apple's leading product is succeeding.
Meanwhile, iPad sales slipped about 18% in the first quarter, to 21.4 million units sold after the company released new iterations of its iPad Air and iPad mini tablets. Mac sales increased, slightly, to 5.5 million units sold.
Apple's next big product launch is the highly-anticipated Apple Watch, which was announced last fall with the new iPhones but won't go on sale until April, CEO Tim Cook said during a call with analysts. BGC Financial's Colin Gillis expects Apple to sell 30 million of the new watches in the first four quarters after it's release.
What you might have missed: Apple's largest regional sales increase came in the Greater China area, where the company's revenue jumped 70%, to $16.1 billion, year-over-year. Apple has been expanding its presence in China and recently announced it would open five new stores in the country to bring its total there to 20 stores — or, half the number Cook wants in China within two years.