Active Apple Devices Topped 1.5 Billion in Q4

Apple's base of active devices is viewed as the linchpin of its growing services business. The company is targeting 600 million paid subscribers across its various services by the end of 2020.
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Shares of Apple were rising in after-hours trading after the firm beat earnings and revenue estimates by a solid margin. The number of active Apple devices across the world is growing, as well. 

For the December quarter, Apple (AAPL) - Get Report posted overall earnings of $4.99 per share on sales of $91.82 billion, topping Wall Street’s estimates of $4.54 EPS and $88.4 billion. Shares of Apple were trading 2.3% higher shortly after the release.

The company said its installed base of iPhones, iPads, wearable devices and Mac computers hit 1.5 billion in the latest quarter, driven in part by many customers buying iPads, Macs and Apple Watches for the first time. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook added in a statement that Apple's quarterly revenue, which was its highest ever, was "fueled by strong demand for our iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models, and all-time records for Services and Wearables.” 

He added that Apple's base of active devices grew in every geographic segment, calling that result "a great driver of our growth across the board.” Apple added more than 100 million active devices in the last 12 months.

iPhone sales came in at $55.96 billion, compared to forecasts of $51.38 billion. Apple's revenue in wearables, accessories and home segment also topped expectations at $10.01 billion. Services revenue fell slightly short, however, at $12.72 billion versus a $13.06 billion consensus. 

On a shareholder call, CFO Luca Maestri reported that Apple has 418 million paid subscribers across all of its various services, and is raising its target to 600 million paid subscribers by the end of this year. In addition to core services such as the App Store, iCloud and Apple Music, Apple introduced a number of new services in the back half of 2020: Apple News+, Apple Card, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.

Despite adding new services last year, however, Apple saw a modest deceleration in the segment versus the September quarter. Services grew 17% last quarter, versus 18% in the September quarter. 

"We set all-time records for many, many categories, music, cloud, search ads, payment services, December record for the App Store and AppleCare," Maestri said. "Of course, we have launched new services very recently, for example, Apple TV+ just launched in November. And so while these services did not have a material impact in our December quarter results, we expect that over time this is contributing to the growth of the Services business. But we feel very happy with the 17%."