Apple's fiscal fourth-quarter profits and revenues impress

Apple has released its financial results for the fourth quarter of its financial-year 2015, and its performance continues to impress, even if the company's growth isn't quite as meteoric as it has been in past quarters. Cupertino made $11.1 billion in net profit on $51.5 billion in revenue. That's a 30.6% increase in profits and a 22.3% increase in revenue compared to this time last year. Gross margin increased to 39.9%, up from 38% a year ago.

Apple says its growth was fueled by "record fourth-quarter sales" of iPhones along with wider availability of the Apple Watch and slow-growing but still "record" Mac sales.

The company sold 48 million iPhones this quarter, compared to 39.2 million a year ago—a 22% bump. Macs sold 5.7 million units in total, a 3% increase over last year and a small but significant counterpoint to the trajectory of the PC market in general.

The iPad continues to slump, though. Apple's tablet sold 9.8 million units in the company's fiscal Q4, a 20% drop from a year ago, despite the introduction of the more capable iPad mini 4. It remains to be seen whether the soon-to-be-released iPad Pro can serve as a shot in the arm for the iPad family.

CEO Tim Cook noted that "fiscal 2015 was Apple's most successful year ever," and it's hard to argue with the numbers. Revenue for the year grew 28% to $234 billion. For the upcoming quarter, Apple expects $75.5 billion to $77.5 billion in revenue and gross margin of 39% to 40%.

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