Apple Inc on Tuesday said it hit a milestone of 1.2 billion iPhones sold while signalling that its upcoming 10th-anniversary phone line-up is on schedule, driving the stock up 6 percent to an all-time high in after-hours trading.
The stock climbed above its intraday record high to $159.10 after the company reported better-than-expected iPhone sales, revenue and earnings per share. The stock price move was expected to help drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the 22,000 mark on Wednesday.
The April-June quarter is traditionally a soft one for Apple as the market waits for the September launch of new iPhone models. But Tuesday's results show that iPhone buyers may be less inclined than they once were to delay purchases until a new model is out.
The next iPhone
Apple is widely tipped to adopt higher-resolution OLED displays for the latest iPhone, along with better touchscreen technology and wireless charging – which could come with a $1,000 plus price tag.
The phone is expected to launch in September.
The company forecast total revenue of between $49 billion and $52 billion for the current fourth quarter, while analysts on average were expecting $49.21 billion.
The forecast "makes it fairly certain that at least some new iPhone models will be released on the normal schedule," said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.
"That doesn't necessarily mean all new models will go on sale then, or that they'll all be in abundant supply, but I would think it means that at the very least the successors to the current phones will be available."
But Bob O'Donnell, chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research, cautioned that if Apple releases cheaper models before the premium models in its 10th anniversary phone line-up, the cheaper models could dampen sales of more expensive units released closer to the holidays.
"Big investment" in autonomous systems
Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that Apple's experiments with self-driving cars may include ambitions that extend beyond cars. He said the company is making a "big investment" in autonomous systems.
"From our point of view, autonomy is sort of the mother of all AI [Apple Inc] projects," Cook said.
"And the autonomous systems can be used in a variety of ways, and a vehicle is only one, but there are many different areas of it. And I don't want to go any further with that."
Apple's iconic iPhone turned 10 on June 29.