MarketWatch First Take: iPad renaissance in schools and businesses boosts Apple results

Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet was a sleeper hit last quarter, with a surprising return to growth in what is typically Apple’s slowest period of the year.

Apple AAPL, +0.89%reported better-than-expected third-quarter results Tuesday, with 41 million iPhone sales and revenue growth of 3% helping to calm fears about the company’s fiscal year. While iPhone sales were a relief, iPad sales were a big surprise, apparently thanks to success in the education and enterprise markets.

Unit sales for the iPad—which have been mostly declining since the end of the 2013 fiscal year—handily beat expectations, as Apple said it sold 11.4 million iPads, more than two million more than expected by analysts.

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