5 Reasons Apple Is On A Roll

Apple Had A Happy Holiday

The first nine months of 2016 were a bit of a depressing story for Apple, as sales in its three main business lines -- iPhone, iPad and Mac -- all slipped.

Then came the holiday quarter -- and everything changed (well, except with the iPad). Apple reported record revenue for the final three months of the year, of $78.4 billion, and there are some signs that 2017 could be even bigger with the release of the 10th anniversary iPhone.

In the following slides, we've rounded up the top five reasons Apple seems to be crushing it right now.

The iPhone 7 Is A Smash Hit

Apple's debut of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may have featured largely incremental updates, but buyers proved they were hungry for the new devices in the final three months of 2016, especially after Samsung's missteps. The iPhone 7 Plus sold especially well -- better, in fact, than Apple expected. That was thanks in part to the phone's dual-camera setup -- a feature that Apple debuted for the first time with the device.

Sales of iPhone rose 5.3 percent to $54.38 billion during the quarter, compared to the same period a year earlier.

The MacBook Pro Is Selling Well

During the fall, Apple released an overhauled version of the MacBook Pro, the first major refresh to the laptop in four years. While the laptop was criticized by some for having only USB-C ports and a higher-than-expected price tag, the new MacBook Pro also included a brand-new feature, the Touch Bar, which adds functionality based on the app that is in use at the time. The MacBook Pro also featured a thinner and lighter form factor than previous generations.

Sales in Apple's Mac business line rose to record quarterly revenue of $7.24 billion in the final three months of 2016, up 7.4 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Apple Watch Is Helping, Too

It appears that lots of people got Apple Watches as holiday gifts because Apple says the device saw record quarterly sales in the final three months of 2016. The company didn't disclose specific figures -- and the Apple Watch did only launch in 2015, after all. But, following an IDC report that Apple Watch sales had plunged 71 percent during the July-September quarter of 2016, the strong sales during at year-end show the device may be doing better than everyone thought.

Services Are A Big Growth Area

Far and away, the biggest growth in the final three months of 2016 for Apple was in the Services segment, which includes the iTunes and App stores, AppleCare and Apple Pay. Compared to the 5.3 percent growth of the iPhone and 7.4 percent growth of the Mac during the holiday quarter, Apple's Services surged 18-percent in the quarter from the same period a year earlier. Services generated $7.17 billion in total revenue for Apple during the quarter, nearly on par with the Mac business line.

The "iPhone X" Is Getting Major Attention

Apple is getting ready to release the 10th-anniversary edition of the iPhone, and analysts such as Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein are saying the signs point to some major demand out there for the device. Rumors suggest three new iPhone models are in the works this time around. One may feature a 5.8-inch OLED display and could be named the iPhone X. The display is expected to have a minimal bezel, wireless charging capabilities and an all-glass casing.

Rumors suggest the two other new iPhones will come in the standard 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes, with improvements of a more incremental nature. Those may include new processors and the addition of a dual-lens camera for the first time to the 4.7-inch iPhone.