In a world gone topsy-turvy, finally some news as reassuringly warm and snuggly as a security blanket: Apple reported a fine quarter, its stock raced upward in after-hours trading, and investors are excited about the company’s future.
Let’s do some numbers:
* Apple earned almost $18 billion in its first fiscal quarter for 2017, which ended Dec. 31. That’s down a smidgen from the year-earlier period as margins tightened. To put that figure in perspective, of the top 10 corporations in the 2015 Fortune 500, only Berkshire Hathaway had annual profits greater than Apple’s just-reported quarter.
* The company sold 78 million iPhones, up 5% from the year before and a strong showing for the iPhone 7 in its first full quarter of sales.
* Apple has $246 billion in cash, 94% of which sits outside the U.S.
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Now let’s do some non-numbers:
* Fortune’s Aaron Pressman discusses why Apple CEO Tim Cook might be seriously considering a gonzo acquisition, Apple’s first. If so, it might be a media company, and Apple is said to have poked around Netflix and Time Warner in the past. For what it’s worth, Cook’s language isn’t new. He always has suggested nothing is off the table. More, valuations are relatively high, and it’s tough to imagine Cook using Apple’s cash to buy someone’s else’s pricey stock. But then the world has gone topsy-turvy.
* Apple’s supply chain isn’t operating at peak efficiency, having botched demand for its new AirPods, the Apple Watch, and the super-sized iPhone 7 Plus. Apple goofing up in operations is a lot like Tiger Woods shanking his tee shots. Oh wait …
* Apple is serious about services like iTunes and iCloud, a business that used to play helpmeet for its device sales. The company has been saying this is a big deal for several quarters. Now it is.
As for what’s next, Apple watchers want to hyperventilate over an iPhone 8, they’d like to see Apple produce Netflix- and Amazon-like original movies and TV shows, and they pine for an iCar.
For now, they’ll settle for gaudy profits.