Ten records Apple broke in its historic holiday 2020 quarter

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AppleInsider breaks down every record Apple smashed in its gargantuan fiscal quarter ending in December 2020.

Apple's first fiscal quarter was one to remember, breaking records left and right on its way to a staggering $111.4 billion in total revenue. While that number was the biggest takeaway, it was far from the only record the company shattered.

Total revenue

Apple brought in a staggering $111.4B in Q1 2021
Apple brought in a staggering $111.4B in Q1 2021

During the 1Q 2021 financial quarter, Apple raked in $111.4 billion in total revenue. This is the first time the company has passed $100 billion for a quarter, breaking its previous record of $91.8 billion in the prior year's December-ending quarter.

It's all the more surprising that Apple did this during a global pandemic, as many working families cut down on luxury purchases. Impressive iPad and Mac sales boosts may have partially reflected the greater need for work-from-home and Zoom-friendly computing devices. However, the iPhone continued to be Apple's main revenue driver.

iPhone revenue

The entire iPhone 12 lineup
The entire iPhone 12 lineup

As part of its monumental quarter, Apple also saw a record-shattering $65.6 billion in iPhone sales. This was up from $56 billion in the previous year's quarter.

Apple shipping the new models later than usual may have meant the typical sales from the last few weeks of the fourth quarter carried over to Q1, inflating the final total. However, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini didn't ship until Nov. 13, giving those two handsets only six weeks to contribute to the earnings. CEO Tim Cook also noted that supply constraints affected iPhone 12 Pro sales.

"If you look at this past quarter, we started selling two of the iPhones four weeks into the quarter, and the other two seven weeks into the quarter," said Cook. "So I would caution that this is in the early going, but in looking at the iPhone 12 family, we saw those switchers and upgraders increase on a year-to-year basis."

"And in fact, we saw the largest number of upgraders that we've ever seen in a quarter," he continued. "And so we were, you know, very thrilled about that."

Active install base: Total and iPhones

Apple now has more than one billion iPhones in active use
Apple now has more than one billion iPhones in active use

During the earnings call, Cook said Apple now has an active installed base of 1.65 billion devices. That figure includes all Apple products.

As part of that figure for active devices, iPhones in active use have passed the one billion mark. That compares to 900 million at the same point in 2020.

Mac revenue

The M1 MacBook Pro, one of three Mac products with Apple Silicon
The M1 MacBook Pro, one of three Mac products with Apple Silicon

Apple didn't quite pass its record for Mac revenue it had set in the previous quarter. Yet it did break the record for December-quarter Mac revenue, tallying $8.7 billion. Mac sales grew by 41% compared to the quarter ending in December 2019.

The company launched its first Apple Silicon Macs during the quarter. These include M1-powered models of the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini.

Cook acknowledged that there have been supply constraints for M1 Macs, suggesting sales may have been artificially suppressed due to lack of available units. He weighed in on the process, saying, "We're partway through the [Apple Silicon] transition, and we've got a lot more to do. We're in the early days of a two-year transition, but we're excited about what we see so far."

Services

Apple One launched late in the quarter
Apple One launched late in the quarter

Yet another record to fall was Services. Apple took in $15.8 billion in Services revenue for the final three months of 2020. Apple established new records across its Services categories and in most regions.

The Apple One bundle launched in December, giving customers bulk discounts over the services' combined individual costs. The firm also launched Apple Fitness late in the quarter, offering interactive home workout videos for Apple Watch owners.

Wearables, Home, and Accessories

Apple Watch Series 6 with Braided Solo Loop
Apple Watch Series 6 with Braided Solo Loop

Apple also broke records in its Wearables, Home, and Accessories category. It brought in $13 billion, up 30% from the previous year's comparable quarter. Each of this group's sub-categories also set records.

The Wearables category includes Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones. The company released the Apple Watch Series 6 and budget Apple Watch SE during the fall.

Apple also launched AirPods Max towards the end of the quarter, supplies of which will likely be constrained until April 2021.

AirPods Max released with constrained supplies near the quarter's end
AirPods Max released with constrained supplies near the quarter's end

The Home category includes Apple TV, HomePod, and the new HomePod mini, which the company also released in fall 2020. This quarter's new accessories included the MagSafe, MagSafe Duo, and MagSafe cases — magnetic accessories compatible with the iPhone 12 line.

China revenue

Apple has bet big on China, and now the company has set a quarterly record in the country
Apple has bet big on China, and now the company has set a quarterly record in the country

During the quarter, Apple raked in a record $21 billion from China. The company saw those numbers as transcending strong iPhone sales.

"China was more than an iPhone story," said Cook. "We could not have turned in a performance like we did with only iPhone."

iPad sales in Japan

Global iPad revenue was up 41% year-over-year
Global iPad revenue was up 41% year-over-year

While overall iPad revenue wasn't record-breaking, it still saw massive growth. Global iPad sales were up 41% year-over-year, totaling $8.4 billion. That's the highest quarterly iPad total in six years.

Apple also noted that Japan's iPad revenue was a record-breaking total.

The company spent 2020 refining its iPad lineup with hardware revisions across each model and significant iPadOS improvements. Desktop Safari and mouse-cursor support allow users to perform more work from the tablet.

Cook noted that some iPad models saw constrained supplies during the quarter.

AppleCare

Apple brought in record AppleCare revenue, despite many stores remaining closed
Apple brought in record AppleCare revenue, despite many stores remaining closed

Apple brought in record-breaking AppleCare revenue. This was despite many U.S. and European stores remaining closed during the quarter. Maestri attributed AppleCare's growth to global in-store traffic ticking upwards.

In addition to in-person Apple Store purchases, Apple customers can buy AppleCare+ extended warranties online and from third-party retailers. In recent years, the company has added monthly AppleCare+ subscriptions, making it easier for customers to afford device insurance.

FaceTime call volume

Apple says it saw the highest-ever volume of FaceTime calls on Dec. 25
Apple says it saw the highest-ever volume of FaceTime calls on Dec. 25

Apple says that, over Christmas, it broke the record for the highest-ever volume of FaceTime calls. In the earnings call, Cook stated that "as COVID-19 kept us apart, we saw the highest volume of FaceTime calls ever this Christmas." It's unclear if "this Christmas" refers to Dec. 25, the surrounding weeks, or the entire holiday quarter. Cook also didn't specify the exact amount of FaceTime call volume.

No matter the numbers, this record is unsurprising. Likely contributing factors include families kept apart for the holidays and the greater number of active Apple devices.

 

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