This will be the year of Apple Pay

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has reported record sales and revenue, shattering former records. And with a record number of new handsets flooding the market, Apple CEO Tim Cook has declared 2015 the year of Apple Pay.

Apple dominated the holiday season, selling 74.5 million iPhones in the last three months. It posted record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion and record quarterly net profit of $18 billion. It was the highest quarterly profit ever posted by a company, according to CNN. The company sold an average of 30,000 iPhones every hour.

"Interest in Apple products is at an all time high... shattering our high expectations," said Cook. "This volume is hard to comprehend."

"Apple Pay is off to a very strong start and the feedback that we are getting from both individuals and institutions is extremely positive," Cook said during a conference call with analysts. "Today about 750 banks and credit unions have signed on to bring Apple Pay to their customers, and in just three months after launch, Apple Pay makes up more than $2 out of $3 spent on purchases using contactless payment across the three major U.S. card networks."

For merchants already accepting Apple Pay, the rates are even higher.

"Panera Bread tells us Apple Pay represents nearly 80 percent of their mobile payment transactions, and since the launch of Apple Pay, Whole Foods Market had seen mobile payments increased by more than 400 percent."

Expect more locations to begin accepting Apple Pay, advised Cook. USA Technologies has made Apple Pay available at about 200,000 locations, including vending machines, airports, schools, colleges, universities, laundromats, parking meters and payment kiosks in lots across the country. "Point-of-sale suppliers tell us they are seeing unprecedented demand from merchants, and all of our partners and customers simply love this new service," Cook said.

Cook also offered updates on the Apple Watch, which is scheduled to ship in April, and Apple for Business efforts stemming from a partnership with IBM.

"In just over a month, more than a dozen enterprise customers have signed on as foundation clients to transform their companies with iPhone, iPad and IBM MobileFirst solutions including… American Eagle Outfitters," he said. "And the list of new customers is expanding rapidly."

Apple Pay's high adoption rates are particularly significant, given that the technology launched at the start of the holiday shopping season.

"I'm actually unbelievably shocked, positively shocked at how many merchants were able to implement Apple Pay in the heart of their holiday season, because generally most people sort of lock down and don't do very much. But we were able to get this in a lot of different merchants and I give them a lot of credit for that," said Cook. "I think we're just on the front end. With all of this momentum in the early day, we are more convinced than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay."

For more:
-See this Seeking Alpha transcript
-See this CNN story
-See this Apple earnings release

Related stories:
Apple Pay and CurrentC shine light on mobile payments
Apple Pay is here 
Apple's iPhone 6 stealing retail's holiday thunder
Apple Watch, Pay will change retail
Apple puts NFC security front and center

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