After Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) returned to bottom-line growth in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, its earnings growth accelerated significantly in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. The tech giant's strong double-digit EPS growth during the period was fueled by a big quarter for the iPhone and more sharp growth in the company's services segment and its wearables, home, and accessories business.

Here's a look at the results. 

Six iPhone 11 devices being splashed by water

iPhone 11. Image source: Apple.

Strong revenue and EPS growth

Metric

Q1 Fiscal 2020

Q1 Fiscal 2019

Change

Revenue

$91.8 billion

$84.3 billion

9%

Earnings per share

$4.99

$4.18

19%

Gross margin

38.4%

38%

40 basis points

Data source: Apple.

Apple's total revenue in fiscal Q1 was a record $91.8 billion, up 9% year over year. This easily beat management's guidance for revenue between $85.5 billion and $89.5 billion. It also handily exceeded analysts' average forecast for $88.5 billion.

Higher-than-expected revenue growth during the period helped drive margin expansion. Apple's gross margin for the period was 38.4%, up from 38% in the year-ago period.

Combining Apple's strong revenue growth and margin expansion with the company's decrease in share count thanks to its aggressive share repurchase program, it's no surprise that earnings per share spiked 19% year over year during the period to a record $4.99. This crushed a consensus estimate for $4.55. And it was a significant acceleration from 4% EPS growth in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. 

"We also returned nearly $25 billion to shareholders during the quarter, including $20 billion in share repurchases and $3.5 billion in dividends and equivalents, as we maintain our target of reaching a net cash neutral position over time," said CFO Luca Maestri in the tech company's earnings release.

Segment results

Segment

Q1 Fiscal 2020 Revenue

Q1 Fiscal 2019 Revenue

Change (Decline)

iPhone

$56.0 billion

$51.2 billion

7.6%

Mac

$7.2 billion

$7.4 billion

(3.5%)

iPad

$6.0 billion

$6.7 billion

(11.2%)

Wearables, home, and accessories

$10.0 billion

$7.3 billion

37%

Services

$12.7 billion

$10.9 billion

16.9%

Data source: Apple.

The iPhone was the star of the quarter. Apple's smartphone segment brought in $56 billion in revenue, smashing analysts' average forecast for $51.6 billion. 

But the company's two fastest-growing segments -- services and wearables, home, and accessories -- were important contributors to Apple's robust results as well. Services revenue rose about 17% year over year to $12.7 billion, and wearables, home, and accessories jumped 37% to $10 billion.