Iphone 12 5gSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Q1 2021 experienced the most iPhone upgrades ever in a quarter.
  • Apple attributes the performance to the iPhone 12 lineup and its inclusion of 5G.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri both took questions during the company's Q1 earnings call in which Apple announced record-breaking revenue of over $110 billion. Apple's iPhone business saw impressive growth despite releasing its new iPhone 12 lineup later than usual due to supply-chain challenges during the pandemic.

Even with these challenges in place, Tim Cook revealed during the call that the company had experienced "the largest number of upgraders that we've ever seen in a quarter" during Q1 2021.

"If you look at this past quarter, which, we started selling to two of the iPhones four weeks into the quarter and the other two, seven weeks into the quarter. And so I would caution that this is in the early going, but in looking at the iPhone 12 family, we saw both switchers and upgraders increase on a year over year basis. And in fact, we saw the largest number of upgraders that we've ever seen in a quarter. And so we were very thrilled about that."

Iphone 12 All ColorsSource: Apple

When asked about iPhone performance in China, Cook pushed back saying that China was much more than just iPhone, but also mentioned that the country also saw a record number of upgraders.

"China was more than an iPhone story. iPhone did do very well there, and sort of like the world, if you look at both switchers and upgraders, we were up year over year, and China also had a record number of upgraders during the quarter, the most we've ever seen in a quarter. I think probably some portion of this was that people probably delayed purchasing in the previous quarter as rumors started appearing about an iPhone. Keep in mind that, 5G in China, the network is well established and the overwhelming majority of phones being sold are 5G phones. And so I think there was some level of anticipation for us delivering an iPhone with 5G and so iPhone did extremely well. However, the other products did as well. I mean, we could not have turned in a performance like we did with only iPhone."

Cook attributed the record number of upgrades to the iPhone 12 lineup and Apple's switch to 5G. The CEO reiterated that the United States and China are some of the leaders in the 5G rollout, so consumers in both countries are upgrading to take advantage of the new technology.