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Apple analyst predictions crystal ball

Apple’s quarterly results are in. And on the face of it, they’re certainly impressive.

Millions of iPhones and iPads were sold in the three months from October to December, as Apple posted record sales and a massive $13.1 billion profit.

But beyond the headline figures, what have we learned from Cupertino’s latest financial revelations. Here are five key lessons.

1 iPhone sales are at a record high

iphone 5s5c family

The iPhone, despite being battered from all sides, is still doing brisk business.

A record 51 million units were sold in the last three months of 2013, helped by Apple introducing two models, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, and opening up the number of markets in which the handsets were available at launch.

Whatever critics might say, the demand for Apple products remains insatiable.

2 But Samsung is still way out front

samsung galaxy s4 airview

That’s not to say Apple isn’t facing increasingly stiff competition from its key rival, Samsung.

New Strategy Analytics figures showed that Sammy shifted a massive 86 million smartphones in the same period Apple moved 51 million.

Of course, Samsung offers far more than Apple’s three smartphones, but it shows the bind that Tim Cook and co are in.

Samsung’s massive marketing spend and its huge global reach is virtually impossible to compete with.

3 The iPhone 5C could be on its way out

iphone 5c cases

Apple admitted in a call with investors after it revealed its results that demand for the iPhone 5S had been far higher than expected.

In fact, it had hampered sales as customers had had to wait longer to get their mitts on the top-end phone.

While Tim Cook didn’t expressly say so, that surge in demand has stirred up thoughts that the iPhone 5C might not have been the smartest way to repackage and resell 2012’s iPhone 5.

Rumour is it’s been outsold two to one by its sharper stablemate.

While Apple doesn’t ever break down iPhone sales by device, its focus on the 5S shows the 5C is surely done for.

4 iPad remains strong, but for how long?

ipad air

The iPad remains a strong part of Apple’s iOS offering. 26 million sales of its iPad Air and iPad Mini devices show that, especially as that’s a jump on the 22.6 million a year ago.

But how long can it maintain this position of dominance. Market share stats show that Samsung is closing in on Apple’s position as tablet top dog, with a share of over 20% and rising.

Throw in cheap slates from Amazon and Google and it’s hard to see Apple keeping up in 2014.

5 Tim Cook wants Touch ID to herald mobile payments move

touch id iphone 5s

Talk of Apple’s plans for a mobile payment system emerged earlier this week, after it promoted its former online retail chief to oversee the planned project.

Tim Cook couldn’t have been more clear in saying this was something Cupertino was working on, stating in his investor call that the "mobile payments area in general is one that we’ve been intrigued with. It was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID."

Can they make it work? It’s a tall order, but it seems this will be one area we’ll be hearing a lot more of as the year goes on.

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