On Tuesday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors were treated to a record-breaking quarter -- not just for Apple, but for any company. Powered by sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the company outperformed analysts' wildest expectations, which sent the stock up nearly 8% in after-hours and pre-market trading. Here are some numbers that will better help investors understand Apple's legendary quarter.
74: Tim Cook's lucky number
The number 74 showed up a few times in Apple's report. First, revenue for the fiscal 2015 first quarter came in at $74.6 billion. Apple also sold 74.5 million iPhones. For perspective, every day during the quarter Apple pulled in roughly $820 million in sales while moving nearly 820,000 iPhone units -- or $9,500 and 9.5 iPhones every second! This tumbled down the income statement to reveal our second number.
$18 billion: A record-shattering number
Apple reported a staggering net income figure of $18 billion. This is the largest quarterly profit made by a public company ever. Apple topped previous record holder ExxonMobil's 2012 second-quarter income of $15.9 billion by 13.2%. That $18 billion also improved upon Apple's previous-year total by 37%. This huge amount of net income was due to our next number.
39.9%: Apple keeps more of its revenue
Apple's gross margin percentage is a key indicator. After peaking at 47.4% in the quarter ended March 2012, the company's gross margin dropped as low as 36.9% in the quarter ended June 2013. That's important because the larger this number is, the more money Apple keeps out of each dollar in sales. And Apple's improvement in this statistic derives from next figure.
$687: Customers are gladly paying more
Perhaps the story of this quarter is embedded in this particular figure: iPhone average selling price, or ASP. As discussed ad nauseam, Apple increased the cost to account for a larger bill of materials as it increased the screen size. The question afterward was whether customers would pay more for this upgrade. As indicated by management and media reports prior to this earnings report, the answer was an emphatic yes.
The increased screen size raised the iPhone ASP by 7.8% year over year (from $637) and added to its gross-margin expansion due to incremental products costs that were lower than the price increase. This benefited investors through our next figure.
$3.06: This number is for the shareholders
The most mentioned figure from the quarter is diluted earnings per share figure. And, again, Apple did not disappoint. By crushing the consensus analyst estimate of $2.60 by 17.7%, the company continued to reward long-term shareholders. Apple grew year-over-year earnings per share by an astonishing 48% thanks to a combination of higher profit (net income grew 37%) and lower share counts due to the company's massive stock buyback program. Will the buybacks continue? This next figure says yes.
$178 billion: Apple can make it rain
When it comes to cash, Apple's doesn't have any problems. The company grew its cash stockpile by 15% sequentially, to $178 billion, in the quarter. Roughly 25% of Apple's market capitalization is in cash, and that gives the tech giant options to invest in new products or to add to its capital program. While repatriation remains an issue, Apple has the financial wherewithal to boost its capital return program that has exceeded $100 billion in returns through a combination of dividends and share buybacks. And just how is Apple growing that cash? The answer is operating cash flow.
$33.7 billion: Perhaps a more intriguing record
In the first quarter, Apple produced $33.7 billion from operations -- a 48% spike and an all-time high for the company. By increasing cash from operations faster than it is growing revenue, Apple is becoming even more efficient at converting sales to cash. Can it continue? One figure suggests it has room for growith.
70%: Hello China!
While total revenue growth of 30% year over year is impressive in its own right, Apple produced particularly eye-popping results in the Middle Kingdom. Aided by a larger form factor for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and the devices' availability from China's major wireless carriers, Apple grew revenue 70% in China on a year-over-year basis. In fact, 40% of Apple's year-over-year revenue growth was due to China. As more Chinese attain middle-class status, look for these excellent results to continue. And let's not forget Apple's new product -- the Apple Watch -- ships in April.