Apple surpasses expectations as tech companies struggle in

Apple reported higher-than-expected profit and sales as demand for iPhones holds steady even amid inflation and the challenges of an economic slowdown.

Sales and profit for the quarter were $83bn and $1.20 a share, according to Apple, surpassing Wall Street expectations. The report is a positive sign for the company, which earlier this year lost its status as the most valuable company in the world to the oil giant Saudi Aramco. The company’s shares rose by 2.6% after hours in response to the news.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, described the quarter as a reflection of the company’s “resilience and optimism” and said it managed to achieve better than expected results despite supply constraints and the effects of the company suspending sales in Russia.

There has been no slowdown in demand for iPhones, Apple’s CFO, Luca Maestri, told Reuters. Apple reported iPhone sales were $40.7bn, up about 3% from a year earlier and well ahead of the overall global smartphone market. The company’s loyal and affluent customer base has in the past allowed it to weather economic dips better than some other companies.

But the slowing economy is hurting sales of advertising, accessories and home products, Maestri said.

“Fortunately, we have a very broad portfolio, so we know we’re going to be able to navigate that,” he said.

Parts shortages will continue to limit Mac and iPad sales, Maestri said, though the impact has been easing.

“As a largely hardware company, Apple is arguably more directly exposed to supply chain issues than the other tech giants reporting earnings this week, but it also has a growing services business that is an important part of its diversification strategy, so it has flex in its model,” Tom Johnson, the global chief digital officer at Mindshare Worldwide, said of Apple’s quarterly earnings.

In April, Apple warned it expected a growth slowdown despite its stronger-than-anticipated quarterly results. The company has struggled with Covid shutdowns at factories in China and a computer chip shortage.

Apple has managed to maintain greater stability than other tech giants that have announced hiring slowdowns and layoffs. But the company does plan to slow hiring and spending next year in an effort to be more cautious as an expected recession looms, Bloomberg reported this month.

“Apple’s move reflects a broader slowdown in investing in new things, new companies and new products,” Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners, told Reuters. “It signifies that inflation is an issue for these companies.”

Google, Microsoft and Meta have announced plans to slow hiring or cut jobs. Tesla’s Elon Musk has said the company will cut 10% of its workforce while Netflix, which lost 1 million subscribers earlier this year, laid off 300 employees.

After seeing record profits during the pandemic, the industry as a whole has struggled for months amid rising interest rates, inflation and sluggish economic growth. The tech-driven Nasdaq composite index has already fallen by 26% this year.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported higher revenue than last year, suggesting the company may weather a slow economy better than anticipated. Meanwhile, Meta reported that it projected the first decline in its revenue since the company went public.

Reuters contributed to this report