Apple scored a victory of sorts as its stock climbed after the iPhone maker revealed dismal results from its fiscal first-quarter that included the holiday buying season.
The company also revealed positive metrics for its growing services business that includes its Apple News content aggregator.
On Jan. 2, CEO Tim Cook had braced investors for bad news in a letter that warned of lower sales in China and lopped off 9% of the company’s value in a day. As Apple managed to eke out results that leapt over Wall Street’s lowered hurdle, the stock erased those losses and recaptured a six-week high of about $163.
Cook also said Apple News reached a record of 85 million monthly active users, a 21% gain since the company last revealed readership of 70 million in November 2016. The service is available in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, even though Apple now has 1.4 billion active devices worldwide.
“In the U.S., the latest data from Comscore shows Apple News has the largest audience of all news apps,” Cook said in a conference call with investors. “The international audience will continue to grow with our first-ever bilingual launch in Canada available to customers later this quarter.”
Cook had promised to reveal more details about its services business after the company abruptly announced a decision to stop reporting unit sales for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. It was one of the first signs its hardware business was ailing, and that it wanted to shift focus to its “services” business.
That segment includes the App Store, Apple Pay payments, Apple Music streaming and iCloud storage. Its sales grew 19% to $10.9 billion in the most recent quarter, including revenue from Apple Music’s 50 million paid subscribers and fees from 1.8 billion Apple Pay transactions.
Still, that doesn’t make up for the 15% slump in iPhone sales to about $52 billion.
It remains to be seen how Apple will monetize Apple News, but there are indications the company plans to roll out a service called Apple News Magazines.