After missing its initial revenue guidance for its fiscal first quarter by nearly $7 billion, there was more uncertainty than usual going into Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) fiscal second-quarter results. Fortunately, strength in services, wearables, and iPad helped make up for a continued decline in iPhone revenue. In addition, growth beyond iPhone reinforced why the company is more than its smartphone segment.

Here's a closer look at the quarter's results and Apple's updated capital return program.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage to kick off Apple’s March 2019 event.

CEO Tim Cook. Image source: Apple.

Apple's second-quarter earnings: The raw numbers


Q2 2019

Q1 2018



$58.0 billion

$61.1 billion


Earnings per share




Gross profit margin



(70 basis points)

Fiscal quarters shown. Data source: Apple's second-quarter financial statements.

Revenue fell 5% year over year to $58 billion, coming in toward the high end of management's guidance range for fiscal second-quarter revenue of between $55 billion and $59 billion.

Once again, revenue was weighed down by lower iPhone revenue, which accounted for 54% of total revenue during the period. Furthermore, since iPhone contributes outsize gross profit to the tech giant's overall results, lower revenue from the segment hurt Apple's profitability. The company's gross profit margin was 37.6% -- in line with guidance but down 70 basis points from the year-ago quarter. Earnings per share fell 10% year over year to $2.47.

Segment results

Product Segment

Q2 2019 Revenue

Q2 2018 Revenue



$31.1 billion

$37.6 billion



$4.9 billion

$4.0 billion



$5.5 billion

$5.8 billion


Wearables, home, and accessories

$5.1 billion

$3.9 billion



$11.5 billion

$9.9 billion


Fiscal quarters shown. Data source: Apple's second-quarter financial statements.

iPhone revenue fell 17% year over year during the quarter. However, CEO Tim Cook said during the company's fiscal second-quarter earnings call that declines narrowed significantly in the final weeks of the quarter. "Looking back at the past five months, November and December were the most challenging, so this is an encouraging trend," Cook added. "We like the direction we're headed with iPhone and our goal now is to pick up the pace."

Services revenue rose 16% year over to a record $11.5 billion. This growth is important both because services is Apple's second-largest segment and it boasts a meaty 64% gross profit margin.

Mac revenue was down 5% year over year but management said it believed revenue in the segment would have been up year over year if it weren't for processor constraints during the quarter.

iPad revenue jumped 22% year over year, driven primarily by the company's redesigned iPad Pro, which launched late last year. 

Finally, the wearables, home, and accessories segment saw revenue surge 30% higher, driven by nearly 50% year-over-year growth in its wearables products. "[Wearables] is now about the size of a Fortune 200 company, an amazing statistic when you consider it's only been four years since we delivered the very first Apple Watch," said Cook.

Returning more capital to shareholders

Apple continues to return massive amounts of cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases as it works on becoming net cash neutral. The company returned more than $27 billion to shareholders during the fiscal second-quarter alone, spending $3.4 billion on dividends and the rest on repurchasing shares.

And there's more where that came from. Alongside its fiscal second-quarter results, Apple also announced a 5% increase to its quarterly dividend and authorized an additional $75 billion for its share repurchase program.

Looking ahead

Fortunately, Apple looks like it may return to growth in the current quarter. Management guided for fiscal third-quarter revenue of between $52.5 billion and $54.5 billion. The midpoint of this guidance range represents a slight increase over its fiscal third-quarter revenue of $53.3 billion last year. This is particularly impressive since this growth would be on top of a 17% year-over-year increase in revenue in the year-ago quarter.

Editor's note: In a previous version of this article, the revenue change figure in the table was missing the parentheses to denote a 5% decline instead of a 5% gain. The Fool regrets the error.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.