The prospect of a new iPhone…

The prospect of a new iPhone around the corner didn’t dampen enthusiasm for Apple’s flagship handset….

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The tech industry’s been struggling to catch up to a serious chip shortage.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For years, Apple’s seemed to defy the law of large numbers. Its iPhones, already found in over a billion pockets, surged again following the company’s launch of the iPhone 12, which featured a new boxy design and 5G wireless speeds. Still, with a market value topping $2.45 trillion, the question Apple constantly faces is whether it can keep going higher.

On Tuesday, we got the latest answer. During the three months of its fiscal third quarter, the company said it tallied nearly $39.6 billion in iPhone sales during the three months ended June 26, up 50% from the same time a year ago. Typically, Apple’s struggled to grow iPhone sales during the summer months before its annual fall iPhone reveal. 

All told, Apple said it notched profits of $21.7 billion, nearly double from the same last year.  That translates to $1.30 per share in earnings, off $81.4 billion in overall revenue, which itself was up 36% from last year. That was also well above what analysts had been expecting the company to report, which on average was $1 per share in earnings and nearly $73 billion in revenue, according to surveys published by Yahoo Finance.

“This quarter, our teams built on a period of unmatched innovation by sharing powerful new products with our users, at a time when using technology to connect people everywhere has never been more important,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. He’s expected to discuss more details about the company’s results on a conference call with analysts later Tuesday

Apple’s stock closed regular trading down more than 1%  to $146.77 per share, amid a broader market selloff over concerns that rising COVID-19 cases, driven almost entirely by unvaccinated people in the US, could impact the economy. Despite the uncertainty, Apple’s shares have risen more than 13% so far this year.

Apple’s results mark the latest example of how technology companies have thrived during the coronavirus pandemic. The iPhone 12 quickly became a hit among fans, who snatched so many of them up that the company reported the highest sales and profit in its history during last year’s holiday shopping season. People have also turned to Mac computers and iPad tablets to help with learning and working from home, a trend driving unusually high demand across the tech industry. At Apple, that translated to the highest Mac sales ever during the winter months.

While Apple’s business appears to hum, the rest of the world is decidedly less steady. The Centers for Disease Control announced earlier Tuesday that it was re-instituting social masking mandates even among vaccinated Americans, for fear the coronavirus could spread even further among children who can’t yet receive the life-saving medicine and the people who’ve opted against receiving one so far. 

Even Apple’s already told employees it’s delaying return-to-office plans until October at the earliest, mirroring moves from 2020 when companies began shifting schedules in response to worsening conditions.

Analysts and industry watchers will be watching for any signs from Apple about the future.

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