Apple Mac sales break records amid ex-86-odus to Arm-compatible M1 silicon

Cook & Co made $384M profit per day during latest quarter

Apple is hauling in the cash as Mac users escape Intel x86 processors and upgrade to Cupertino's homegrown Arm-compatible M1 chips in record numbers.

For the first quarter of its fiscal 2022 – the three months to December 25 – Apple reported [PDF] revenue of $123.9 billion, up 11 per cent year-over-year. Cupertino made $34.6 billion in profit (or $384M a day) through the quarter, growing 25 per cent from $28.76 billion at this time last year. The US giant's earnings per diluted share were set at $2.10.

Mac sales totaled $10.9 billion, growing by 25 per cent year-over-year. That was record growth, according to Luca Maestri, Apple's chief financial officer, on an earnings call with analysts on Thursday.

"We are one year into our transition to Apple silicon and already the vast majority of our Mac sales are from M1-powered devices which helped drive a record number of upgraders during the December quarter," Maestri enthused. "The last six quarters have been the best six quarters ever for Mac."

It's not only the upgraders driving Mac sales, CEO Tim Cook said on the call. "In markets like China, six out of ten sales are to people new to the Mac. It's powered by both upgraders and switchers."

Shopify is upgrading its global workforce to MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and Deloitte Consulting is offering M1 Macs to employees, Maestri announced on the call.

Mac buyers may have come out in large numbers during the holiday season to upgrade computers, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Tirias Research. But it may be a few quarters until a better picture emerges of how Apple is doing on M1 Macs as heavy holiday purchasing could distort real market trends, he said.

"Clearly, customers see something they like," McCarron opined.

Apple shifted to the M-series chips and away from Intel chips last year, and introduced MacBook Pro, Air and Mac Mini PCs with the chips this year. The M-series chips are based on the Arm architecture.

Apple faced supply constraints on Macs, but shortages really hurt the iPad. iPad sales were $7.25 billion for the quarter – a decline of 14 per cent from the year-ago quarter of $8.44 billion.

The constraint was in legacy nodes, Cook said, adding "overall we see improvements in the March quarter with constraints going down."

Apple dropped $6 billion in revenue in the previous fiscal quarter due to chip shortages and supply constraints. At the time, Apple didn't have trouble getting cutting-edge digital chips, but had issues acquiring chips from Southeast Asia, where pandemic-driven events curtailed manufacturing.

Electronics makers and car companies are affected by shortages of cheap chips that include display drivers, USB circuits and power management integrated circuits.

Apple did not provide earnings guidance for the second quarter because of uncertainty caused by COVID-19. ®

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