Apple has just broken a big world record

APPLE has recorded the biggest annual profit in corporate history, defying the sceptics to make a whopping $74.9 billion (US $53.4 billion) over the past 12 months.

That’s more than the $63.5 billion (US $45.2 billion) ExxonMobil made in 2008, the world’s most recent record-smashing corporate result, which came on the back of record oil prices.

Behind the tech giant’s success is the seemingly unending popularity of the iPhone, which enjoyed record sales as its reach extended in China.

While iPad sales have fallen, and growth is expected to slow over Christmas, Apple said it planned to keep setting records in the global smartphone market.

The company has just reported another quarter of record earnings, boosted by surging sales in China.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook — pictured, at centre, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June — says record numbers of smartphone users are switching to the iPhone. Picture: Jeff Chiu

Apple’s stock rose slightly after the company issued its report, then settled near the day’s closing price of $160.63 (US $114.55).

 

But Apple has revealed it sold 48 million iPhones in the three months ending September 26 — 22 per cent more than it sold a year earlier.

The company’s forecast for the current quarter, ending in December, suggests it will slightly surpass last year’s record for selling 74.5 million iPhones during the crucial holiday season.

“We think we can grow iPhone (sales) during the December quarter,” chief financial officer Luca Maestri told The Associated Press.

iPhone 6 handsets have flown off shelves around the world. Picture: Damir Sagolj

Apple relies heavily on iPhone sales, which contribute more than two-thirds of its revenue.

Sales skyrocketed last year after the company introduced new iPhone models with bigger screens in September 2014.

But analysts have questioned whether the company could duplicate that success.

Last year’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus tapped into strong demand from consumers who had envied the larger screens offered by Apple’s competitors.

While this year’s new “S” models have additional features, they’re not as dramatically different from last year’s iPhones.

“The iPhone 6 was such a blockbuster launch,” said analyst Angelo Zino of S&P Capital IQ, adding that investors are “cautious about whether that momentum can continue.”

Apple sold a staggering 74.5 million iPhones during the December quarter in 2014, or 46 per cent more than a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet have been forecasting sales of 76 million in the current period.

That’s a huge number, but one that represents a much smaller increase over last year.

The company said it expects overall revenue of $105.82 billion (US $75.5 billion) to $108.63 billion (US $77.5 billion) in this year’s December quarter.