Apple stung by coronavirus, but not as badly as expected
Apple’s profit dipped slightly while revenues rose in the January-March quarter, reflecting early fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that shut down its factories and then forced hundreds of Apple retail stores to close.
The results give the first sign of how one of the world’s best-known companies is faring as the economy plunges into its first recession in more than a decade.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said sales took its worst tumble in early March, but then started coming back later in the month as students and workers started realizing “this will go on a little longer,” and needed tools to learn and work at home.
Beyond devices, Apple also used its manufacturing facilities to help with the COVID-19 relief effort, distributing 7.5 million face shields, said Cook.
The iPhone maker’s revenue edged up by 1% from the same time last year to $58.3 billion. To no one’s surprise, the iPhone was the company’s hardest hit segment, with sales for the device falling 7% from the same time last year. Apple’s profits fell to $11.2 billion, a 2% decline from last year.
While Apple’s sales aren’t rising at the robust pace that they did in the last recession, the numbers released Thursday were far better than analysts had feared.
Apple’s supply chain was already constrained by the pandemic’s early outbreak in China, which forced the company to temporarily close local factories that make most of its iPhones and other most products.
Those factories are open again, but the closures created ripple effects that are expected to delay the release of Apple’s next iPhone models by at least a month this fall. And Apple’s stores still remain closed in many parts of the world as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 around the world.
The performance still wasn’t enough to alleviate investor concern about the turbulence still to come. Apple’s shares fell 1% to $289.66 in extended trading.
Beyond devices, Cook said the video chat app FaceTime and iMessages for texting set new records for daily volume.