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Apple set for $100bn sales record after strong demand for new devices

Apple is expected to unveil its first $100billion quarter tonight after the iPhone maker launched a string of products in the run-up to Christmas.

Analysts predict the US tech giant raked in a record $103.4billion (£75.2billion) during the final three months of 2020, the equivalent of more than half a million pounds per minute.

That would be up from $91.8billion (£67billion) in the same period the previous year.

Christmas hits: Apple launched a string of new products last year including the iPhone 12, the iPad Air, the Homepod mini speaker and a bundle of subscriptions known as Apple One

During the pandemic, Apple has reported strong sales of its iPhones, MacBook computers, iPads, Airpod headphones and Apple Watches as families spend more time working and studying at home.

Going into Christmas, the firm was also boosted by a line-up of new devices including the iPhone 12, the iPad Air, the Homepod mini speaker and a bundle of subscriptions known as Apple One.

In particular, the iPhone 12, its first 5G-enabled handset, is expected to have tempted people who have held off upgrading. 

Morgan Stanley analysts say they expect this to result in Apple hitting 'all-time record quarterly revenue and earnings'.

Apple has tried to reduce its dependence on iPhone sales by selling services such as music streaming, online data storage, TV streaming and fitness software. 

Tom Forte, an analyst at US research firm DA Davidson, said hitting $100billion would suggest 'they have done an amazing job of diversifying'.

It also marks an astonishing rise for Apple, which only first recorded annual sales of the same value in 2011.

Analysts expect Apple's quarterly profit to be about $23.8billion (£17.3billion), up from $22.2billion (£16.2billion).

Microsoft excels too 

Microsoft shares surged in after-hours trading last night as it revealed another huge jump in quarterly sales off the back of the pandemic.

The US firm's stock rose by more than 6 per cent as it reported revenues of £31.4billion for the final three months of 2020, up from £26.9billion the previous year. 

It also unveiled profits of £11.3billion, up from £8.5billion. Analysts said the sales jump was fuelled by lockdown trends that have emerged as people have been forced to spend more time at home.

These have included a boom in PC sales, growing demand for video games and the widespread adoption of cloud computer services as white collar workers have been forced to do their jobs remotely.

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