Apple’s strong holiday-season sales help it break losing streak for revenue, but iPad and China are weak spots

tim Cook on stage
(Image credit: Apple)

Earlier today, during Apple’s Q1 2024 earnings call for the fiscal quarter that ended on December 30, 2023, Apple shared some rather good news: The company reported it earned $119.6 billion in revenue, up 2 percent, year over year, fueled by iPhone sales and sales in services during the holiday season. The quarter was so good, in fact, that Apple was able to end its losing streak of four consecutive quarters of losses. 

In its earning call, the company also noted that this was the first fiscal quarter which has included iPhone 15 sales "Today Apple is reporting revenue growth for the December quarter fueled by iPhone sales, and an all-time revenue record in Services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. 

Another positive data point Apple stated was a very interesting metric: Installed base of active devices, which refers to not just customers who have bought an Apple product, but who are also currently using it. Cook said, “We are pleased to announce that our installed base of active devices has now surpassed 2.2 billion, reaching an all-time high across all products and geographic segments.” 

The earnings report comes a day before the official launch of Apple's Vision Pro, a product that Apple hopes will be a game-changer in the world of consumer tech: "We are announcing these results on the eve of what is sure to be an historic day as we enter the era of spatial computing," said Cook. "Starting tomorrow, Apple Vision Pro, the most advanced personal electronics device ever, will be available in Apple Stores for customers in the U.S.... Apple Vision Pro is a revolutionary device, built on decades of Apple innovation, and it's years ahead of anything else."

In its Q1 2024 earnings call, Apple said iPhone sales and services were key, but China is a weak area

You can tell that Cook and others at Apple have a heck of a lot riding on the success of Apple Vision Pro. Cook also said, "It will unlock incredible experiences for users and developers that are simply not possible on any other device."

I suppose that only time will tell if Cook's statements turn out to be true or not.

The call wasn't all just Apple Vision Pro propaganda... In other words, sunshine and rainbows. For example, in 2023, Apple failed to introduce a new iPad model. That's probably the most likely reason iPads did poorly last year. Cook said iPad revenue was $7 billion, "down 25 percent, year over year." 

Another area Apple is worried about, or should be worried about, is the marketplace in China. Sales in China were down 13 percent to $20.8 billion, year over year.

But overall, I'm guessing Cook and other Apple executives thought there was quite a bit of good news in this Q1 2024 earning report. 

One more thing: Aside from Apple Vision Pro, Cook also noted that the company would continue to invest in technologies that will "shape the future," which, he said, includes "artificial intelligence." Cook said Apple would share the work they've done in the AI space later this year. 

Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.