Apple store in Arlington, Virginia
PHOTO: JOSHUA ROBERTS / REUTERS
Despite the global chip shortage, Apple once again achieved record numbers last Christmas.
Quarterly profit reached $34.6 billion.
That was a good fifth more than a year earlier.
Sales rose by around eleven percent to 123.9 billion dollars, also a record.
The group could have sold even more without the chip bottlenecks: Apple estimates that they pushed sales by more than six billion dollars.
The iPhone was once again the growth driver.
Sales of Apple's smartphone rose to $71.6 billion year-on-year, Apple announced after the US stock market closed on Thursday.
That was up nine percent year-on-year -- significantly higher than analysts had expected.
There was also significant growth and record sales for Mac computers, the division with the Apple Watch and accessories, and in the subscription business.
The iPad business shrank by 15 percent.
CFO Luca Maestri attributed this to the chip shortage.
Demand was strong - and around every second iPad buyer bought their first Apple tablet with it.
For the current quarter, Apple expects a little less headwind from the chip bottlenecks.
Apple's supply problems were mainly limited to semiconductor products from older production processes, as CEO Tim Cook said.
Apple seems to get through chip bottlenecks better
Such chips are used in power supplies, for example.
They quickly became a scarce commodity after the need for computers skyrocketed in the coronavirus pandemic.
Because the chip industry had reduced capacities for older processes over the years.
The situation remains challenging, Cook said.
Thanks to its well-organized supply chains, Apple has so far managed to get through the bottlenecks better than many of its competitors.
This can also be seen in the Mac computer business, which has recently generated record sales quarter after quarter.
In the past quarter, revenues jumped 25 percent to $10.85 billion.
The majority of sales are now accounted for by new models with Apple's own processors instead of Intel chips, it said.
The group is switching to the chip architecture of its iPhones for Macs, promising benefits in terms of performance and efficiency.
The division, in which various devices such as the Apple Watch computer clock, AirPods earphones and HomePod speakers are bundled, increased sales by 13 percent to $14.7 billion.
Apple does not give sales figures for individual categories.
Chief Financial Officer Maestri emphasized that for more than two-thirds of watch buyers in the past quarter, it was their first Apple watch.
A total of 1.8 billion Apple devices are currently in use by users.
The services area with subscription offers and the app business grew by 24 percent to 19.5 billion dollars.
Across all services such as music and video streaming or online storage, Apple has 785 million active subscriptions - 165 million more than a year earlier.
The Christmas quarter with fresh iPhone models is traditionally the strongest of the year for the group.
But the figures exceeded the analysts' growth expectations.
The stock rose by more than four percent in after-hours trading at times – although Apple promised slower growth for the current quarter.
One of the reasons for this is that in the same quarter of the previous year, a larger part of the iPhone demand was only served at the beginning of 2021, explained Maestri.
After the record quarter, the company's reserves were $203 billion despite distributions to shareholders.
This is offset by debts of 123 billion dollars.