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Apple celebrates soaring iPad sales: Put it on my tab, says CEO Tim Cook

Get it? Put the drinks on my tab? Haha, ah. What a wild ride life is

Apple is crediting a resurgence in its education programs and school sales in helping to drive up iPad sales to its first gains since 2014.

The iGiant touted numbers that topped expectations in its fiscal year 2017 Q3 (ending July 1). They further excited analysts by projecting a monster fourth quarter to close out fiscal 2017 – estimating up to $52bn – as it will release its next iPhone and ride a flurry of back-to-school sales in the coming months.

In the meantime, Q3 saw:

  • Revenues of $45.4bn, up 7 per cent from $42.4bn in Q3 2016.
  • Net income of $8.7bn, up from $7.8bn the year-ago quarter.
  • Earnings per share (non-GAAP) of $1.67, topping estimates of $1.57.
  • iPhone shipments hit 41 million, up 2 per cent year-over-year and good for $24.8bn in revenues.
  • For the iPad, 11.4 million units were moved, a 15 per cent jump, year on year, and the first year-on-year gain in sales since 2014.
  • Mac shipments hit 4.2 million, up just one per cent year-over-year.
  • Services, the branch of Apple that handles iTunes and the App Store, reported revenue of $7.3bn for the quarter, up 22 per cent and enough to crack the Fortune 100 on its own.

The big surprise on the quarter was from the iPad: sales of the fondleslab to schools were up 32 per cent, boosting the tablet family overall, as Apple unveiled new services and programs aimed at teaching kids to code with its Swift programming language. The June release of the iPad Pro also helped to push sales up for the first time in three years.

CEO Tim Cook said that entry and intermediate-level coding efforts, both in K-12 and higher education, were going to be a particular area of focus for Apple, which stands to gain in a number of ways from getting developers to write more apps in its Swift programming language.

"We think it could increase the diversity of the developer community and the quality," Cook told analysts. "This is the fastest-growing job segment in the country, and I think will be for some time."

While Apple was typically tight-lipped about its plans for the next iPhone, Cook and Company's lofty estimates for the Q4 period, anywhere from $49bn-52bn, would suggest they're aiming for huge initial sales of the next handset.

Analysts were similarly bullish in after-hours trading, as Apple's stock was up 6 per cent at $159.50 per share. ®

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