The world's most valuable company beats profit expectations despite its iPhone X performing below par amid a fall in global demand for smartphones.
Apple on Tuesday beat revenue and profit expectations in its March quarter as it sold 52.2 million iPhones, barely below Wall Street targets and showing some resilience as global demand for smartphones wanes.
The company also predicted a revenue range of $51.5 billion to $53.5 billion for the June quarter.
Apple also boosted its capital return programme by $100 billion, with repurchases from the increase set to begin in the June quarter, and said it bought $23.5 billion of stock back in the March quarter, a sign that it is bringing back most of its hundreds of billions of dollars in cash to the United States.
The share repurchases in the march quarter drove Apple's cash net of debt down slightly to $145 billion.
"We are returning the cash to investors as we have promised,” Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in an interview.
Disappointing iPhone X
Apple has been at a challenging crossroads this year with sales of its flagship iPhone X disappointing many observers.
Investors have watched Apple closely in recent weeks as a string of poor forecasts from the smartphone supply chain signaled that iPhone demand may be lower than previously expected.
They have also been watching carefully for signs of what Apple plans to do with its hundreds of billions of dollars in cash.
Apple posted revenue for its March quarter of $61.1 billion, up from $52.9 billion last year.
Average selling prices for iPhones were $728, compared with Wall Street expectations of $742.
Profits were $2.73 per share, up from $2.10 a year ago.
Apple's services business, which includes Apple Music, the App Store and iCloud, posted $9.1 billion in revenue compared with expectations of $8.3 billion.
Heading into earnings, investors were hopeful that growth in that segment could help offset the cooling global smartphone market.
Apple traditionally updates its share buy-back and dividend programme each spring, and the $100 billion it added this year compares with an increase of $50 billion last year.
The company also increased its quarterly dividend 16 percent, compared with a 10.5 percent increase last year.
In February, Apple said it planned to draw down its excess cash, though Chief Executive Tim Cook had downplayed the possibility of a special dividend.
But investors have had concerns around Apple because of a brewing trade tensions with China.
While there has not yet been a tariff on devices such as Apple's iPhone, Cook last week travelled to Washington to meet with US President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss trade matters.
"We believe tariffs at the end of the day are a tax on the consumer," Maestri said.
Apple has been emphasising its contributions to the US economy in recent months, outlining a $30 billion US spending plan and highlighting the tens of billions of dollars it spends each year with US-based suppliers.