7 biggest revelations from Apple’s historic earnings call

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Tim Cook has a lot to be happy about. Photo: Apple
Tim Cook has a lot to be happy about. Photo: Apple

Apple closed its earnings call this afternoon after announcing an unprecedented 74.5 million iPhone sales to go along with $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in profits. It broke the record for the most money made by a corporation in history.

While breaking down the Q1 2015 numbers, Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri also gave us some juicy details about what’s in store for 2015 by hinting at new products in the pipeline, as well as subtly dropping the Apple Watch’s release date.

We’ve combed through the numbers and the conference call and found seven huge new revelations every Apple fan needs to know:

Apple Watch ships in April

Get your wallets ready. Tim Cook finally revealed that Apple Watch will ship in April, and that the company is still “making great progress in the development of it.” Pricing for the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition weren’t mentioned, but we expect there will be a media event in March to go over all the details.

2015 is the year of Apple Pay

Apple Pay is going to dominate 2015. Photo: Apple
Apple Pay is going to dominate 2015. Photo: Apple

Apple Pay has only been around for a couple months, but it’s already making a huge impact in the mobile payments space. Whole Foods says it’s seen Apple Pay increase contactless payments by 400 percent. Among Visa, Mastercard and American Express, Apple Pay now accounts for two out of every three dollars spent on contactless payment terminals.

“We haven’t even completed the first inning yet,” Cook said. “There’s tons of countries to go to. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get a note from businesses and banks wanting Apple Pay. We still have a lot of merchants left in the U.S. Given that we launched in October, I’m positively shocked how many merchants were able to implement Apple Pay in the heart of their shopping season…. We give them a lot of credit for that, but I think this is the year of Apple Pay.”

There’s more magic in the pipeline

Fans are eagerly anticipating the release of Apple’s first timepiece, but Cook teased that there’s a lot more magic coming out of Infinite Loop this year. Apple still has a “robust product and services pipeline,” according to Cook, who promised to shed more light on that later in 2015.

Apple has two big plays in the works: iPhone-in-your-automobile platform CarPlay and home-automation framework HomeKit. Both just started gaining momentum at the end of 2014, but it sounds like Apple may have more big news for both this year.

iPhone 6 > iPhone 6 Plus

Cook wouldn’t report the exact mix, but he did say the iPhone 6 was the most popular iPhone last quarter. The bigger-screen handset fared better in some areas than others, though, with Cook revealing there’s definitely a geographic preference for the iPhone 6 Plus that’s not consistent around the world. Some people just love their big screens, but the iPhone 5c is still selling well, too. Supply/demand balance for both iPhones wasn’t reached until January.

Tim can’t live without Apple Watch

Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac
Doesn’t everybody want one of these on their wrist? Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

When asked about his expectations for Apple Watch, Cook gave the upcoming wearable a glowing review.

“I’m using it everyday and I love it and I can’t live without it,” he said. “The number of developers writing apps for it are impressive and we’re seeing incredible innovation out there.”

‘Early 2015’ means ‘April’

Previous reports claimed that Apple was planning to launch Apple Watch in March, but Cook told investors that the project is still in development to launch in April. Cook defended the later-than-expected launch date, saying it’s totally within the timeframe Apple gave us.

“What we were saying with ‘early 2015,’ we’re thinking ‘early’ is the first four months of the year, ‘mid’ is the middle four months, and ‘late’ is the last four months,” Cook explained. “So it’s basically when we thought. But we’re going to start shipping it soon because we’ve got customers that are wanting to get one.”

To be fair, we weren’t expecting Apple Watch to launch before spring, and if a few more weeks in development will help battery life, we’re all for it.

iPhone 6 still has legs

Apple’s not expecting revenues to fall off a cliff after that amazing holiday season. Cook said he is “incredibly bullish” that the iPhone “does have legs” beyond this last blowout quarter, mainly because “only a small fraction of the install base has upgraded.”

Apple saw the highest number of customers new to iPhone over the holidays, along with the highest number of customers switching from Android. “Between the switchers and people that are new to iPhone and our upgraders — which make a small fraction of our install base but we’re still proud of — we feel very confident in what’s in front of us,” said Cook. Not to mention all the people in the world who don’t even own any smartphone yet.