SAN FRANCISCO — Apple said on Thursday it had another wildly profitable quarter as consumers proved willing to pay higher prices for their iPhones and other products, and spend more on apps and services.
The company said profit in the quarter that ended on Sept. 30 rose 32 percent, to $14.13 billion, from the same period a year ago, beating analysts’ estimates. Its revenue increased nearly 20 percent, to $62.9 billion.
Apple’s massive business continues to soar, with little of the turbulence that has afflicted its peers in Silicon Valley. Facebook, Google and Twitter have faced questions about their influence in the spread of disinformation and the proliferation of hate speech. Amazon has avoided much of that but has faced antitrust questions.
Apple, on the other hand, has made a point of separating itself from other tech giants by trumpeting that it values its customers’ privacy and hires people to curate its services rather than relying on computer algorithms. The company has faced criticism for the addictive nature of its smartphones; it responded by adding new tools for people to track their time spent on them.
With the iPhone now 11 years old and the smartphone market saturated — about 77 percent of American adults own one — growth in iPhone sales have fallen off. Apple said it sold 46.9 million iPhones in the latest quarter, roughly flat from a year ago.
Amid that slowdown in sales, Apple has executed a shrewd strategy to maintain its hefty profits: charge more. Customers paid $793 on average for a new iPhone in the quarter, up 28 percent from a year ago. That increase raised iPhone revenues 29 percent, to $37.18 billion, despite the same number of phones being sold in the prior-year quarter. Last month Apple released its most expensive model ever, the iPhone XS Max, priced at $1,100.
That strategy has worked not just for iPhones. Apple said it sold 5.3 million Mac computers in the quarter, down 2 percent from a year ago, but its revenues from Mac sales rose 3 percent to a record $7.4 billion. That was because customers paid nearly $1,400 on average for a Mac, up 5 percent from a year prior.
Apple’s other bet to maintain growth is its services business, which includes its cut of app sales and revenue from its own apps, like Apple Music, among other things. Services revenue rose 17 percent to nearly $10 billion in the quarter.
Some analysts were concerned about Apple’s prospects in China, where sales fell sharply several years ago. But revenues there rose 16 percent in the quarter compared to the same period a year ago. It was a slower growth rate than the previous two quarters but still relatively strong compared with the company’s historical performance in China.
Apple shares fell in after-hours trading, most likely because Apple’s guidance for the current quarter’s revenue was between $89 billion and $93 billion, which is “lighter than expectations” among analysts, said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Bernstein.