Apple posts record fourth quarter sales

CALIFORNIA: Apple on Tuesday posted record results for the final three months of last year delivered by gains in iPhone sales even as the company transitions to digital services and wearables.
Striking a sombre tone on an earnings call, chief executive Tim Cook (pictured) said the company is closely watching the deadly viral outbreak hitting China, where Apple has customers, partners, suppliers and employees.
“Our thoughts are with all of those that are affected across the region,” Cook said.
Apple gave a wider than usual revenue forecast range of $63 billion to $67 billion for this quarter, citing uncertainty regarding how the outbreak will affect its business.
“We’re donating to groups that are working to contain the outbreak; we’re also working very closely with our team and our partners and we have limited travel to business-critical situations as of last week,” Cook said.
Some of Apple’s suppliers are based in the area near Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, and Cook said that the company is working on “mitigation plans” to make up for production loss with alternate sources.
“With respect to supply sources that are outside the Wuhan area, the impact is less clear,” he said.
Apple said it had closed one of its Wuhan stores and added that some retail partners have shuttered their shops or cut hours of business.
“We’re taking additional precautions and frequently deep-cleaning our stores as well as conducting temperature checks for employees,” Cook said.
“While our sales within the Wuhan area itself are small, retail traffic has also been impacted outside of this area across the country in the last few days,” he added.
The SARS-like virus has killed more than 130 people in China and the number of confirmed cases across the country stands at nearly 6,000. — AFP