Apple reports earnings after the bell

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But the numbers that most Apple watchers were focused on were those outlining what the company expects to see for the next quarter.

"We're happy to report a very strong finish to a great fiscal 2017, with record fourth quarter revenue, year-over-year growth for all our product categories, and our best quarter ever for services", Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in the release.

Apple on Thursday reported profits rose on the back of strong iPhone sales in the past quarter, with the U.S. tech giant set to begin selling its newest flagship handset seen as a key to its future.

Apple forecast fiscal first-quarter revenue of $84 billion to $87 billion.

Apple is expected to report earnings of $1.87/share on $51.17 billion in revenue. The Whisper number is the Street's unofficial view on earnings. Revenues were up 12 per cent to US$52.6 billion.

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Analysts were projecting Q1 revenue of $85.31 billion.

The Cupertino, California-based company said it had net income of $2.07 per share.

The tenth anniversary iPhone will go on sale at 8am this morning, with launch events planned at Apple Stores, Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone outlets around the country. If the stock nears that level on Friday, the company will reach a market value of $900 billion.

GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives said strong worldwide demand for the new smartphone, along with "complex production issues", meant the iPhone X would remain in short supply until April or May next year.

After the iPhone 8's muted rollout in late September, the lines of people willing to wait overnight suggest massive demand for the iPhone X - despite its United States $1,000-plus price tag. The company is also set to sell the HomePod, a Siri-powered speaker to answer both Amazon's Echo line and Google's Home speakers.

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Apple gave a gross margin forecast of 38 percent to 38.5 percent, higher than many analysts expected because new products often have higher costs. Sales in Greater China rose 12% to $9.8 billion. The iPhone 8 went on sale a week before the end of the September quarter, and contributed to fiscal fourth-quarter results.

Apple for years has sought to make the release of its new phones a landmark event.

The only negative percentage was in unit and revenue change from last quarter to this quarter in iPads.

One of Apple's latest customer lock-in tools is an updated mobile operating system supporting augmented reality features and apps that can super-impose images and information onto a user's view of the real world.

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