#Apple is now sitting on a cash pile of $178 billion and it's mostly due to the wild success of the #iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The tech giant smashed all previous records and blew pass Wall Street expectations with a huge volume of 74.5 million iPhones sold during its first fiscal quarter, ended December 27th, 2014. It also announced that the Apple Watch will start shipping in April.

"Demand for the iPhone has been staggering, shattering our high expectations, with sales of over 74 million units, driven by the unprecedented popularity of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus," Apple CEO Tim Cook said, on the analyst conference call following the earnings release. The company sold 23.4 million more iPhones than in the same period a year ago, a 46% increase, and 7 million more than it had expected.

"This volume is hard to comprehend: on average, we sold 34,000 iPhones every hour, 24 hours a day, every day of the quarter," he added. The bigger-sized models were a hit in the crucial Chinese market, where Apple doubled sales and reached number one, overshadowing the local Xiaomi and the worldwide market leader, Samsung.

"I think Samsung absolutely should be worried, because they're losing market share, they're trying to find more ways to compete, and Apple basically had a record quarter and put them on notice", Disruptive Tech Research founder Lou Basenese tells me. "They're in trouble if they don't come out with some good new products."

But it was not only about the iPhones this quarter; the App Store and the Macintosh computer line each set records of their own. Mac sales per unit were up 14% to 5.5 million, and App Store revenues were up 41%. Apple also increased the ASP (average selling price) of both the iPhone and the Mac, proving its point by focusing on the higher end of the market.

The monster sales resulted in even bigger earnings: profit went up 38% to an all time high of $18 billion, while sales hit $74.8 billion, also a record.

"Development for Apple Watch is right on schedule, and we expect to begin shipping in April", Tim Cook added. No exact date was set. "I do think it is going to be disruptive. Apple can't afford to launch any new products that are not overwhelming successes, they're such a big company right now," Lou Basenese says. He thinks the Watch is going to be Apple's "next big product."

Meanwhile, Apple Pay is making its way through the American market and will now be available in 200,000 new locations, via an agreement with USA Technologies to use the mobile payment system on their self-serve terminals, like vending machines. "We're more convinced than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay," Tim Cook said. #Smartphone