iPhone 7 pulls Apple out of yearlong sales slump

After a year of falling iPhone sales, Apple has rebounded with a record-breaking quarter thanks to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

In the tech giant's Q1 2017 financials, Apple revealed it posted iPhone sales of 78.3 million, up 5% from the same quarter last year, when it sold 74.8 million iPhones. The iPhone set all-time unit and revenue records, CEO Tim Cook said on an earnings call, helping push Apple to total revenue of $78.4 billion.

Apple's smartphone sales for Q1, which saw the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus on store shelves for a full three months, were also up 72% from the previous quarter, when a relatively measly 45.5 million iPhones were sold.

Cook said on the call that while the iPhone 7 was Apple's most popular model, demand for the iPhone 7 Plus was especially strong; Cook noted it's the most popular Plus model Apple "has ever had."

Customer response to the 7 Plus might lead Apple to go bigger than ever before when it releases the iPhone 8, such as introducing an edge-to-edge display, as rumors suggest. This, along with other advancements like wireless charging, could help the tech giant continue its upward smartphone sales trend year-on-year. 

Apple Watch win

Apple Watch also outdid itself in the quarter, with Cook saying the device broke all-time unit and revenue records as well. 

However, Apple doesn't break out sales figures for Apple Watch, so it's impossible to know exactly how the device is doing number-wise. 

While Apple Watch has enjoyed a leading - if somewhat mysterious - position atop the smartwatch world, Android Wear 2.0 is due out next week, and with it, a whole new batch of smartwatches. LG is expected to be first with a pair of Android Wear 2.0 watches, so Apple Watch could be in for serious Google-backed competition very soon.

Also on the wearable front, Cook said Apple is "delighted" by the response to the wireless AirPods headphones and said their success points to "huge potential" in the wearable market going forward. Again, no sales specifics were given, but Apple seems high on the new breed of earbuds, despite customer concerns about losing them.

Mac sales were up slightly on the back of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, though that category continues to muddle along for Apple. At least it didn't perform as poorly as iPad, which saw a 19% sales drop year-on-year. Despite the bad numbers, Cook did tease "exciting things" ahead for the troubled tablet.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.