Ahead of a widely anticipated announcement of a new tablet computer Wednesday, Apple Inc. has reported another strong quarter with record sales of iPhones and Macintosh computers.
The computer major said Monday net income for the quarter ended December 31 surged 50 per cent from a year earlier to a record $3.4 billion, or $3.67 per share up from $2.26 billion, or $2.50 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
Revenue surged 32 per cent to $15.68 billion from $11.9 billion. That marks the second straight quarter in which Apple posted record revenue.
"If you annualise our quarterly revenue, it's surprising that Apple is now a $50+ billion company," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. "The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we're really excited about."
A 100 per cent year-over-year rise in iPhone sales and a 33 per cent increase in Mac sales also helped drive Apple's results. The company said it sold a record 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter.
That's up 17.6 per cent from the 7.4 million it sold in the previous quarter and double what it sold during the same quarter a year ago. Sales were partially boosted by Apple's introduction of the iPhone in China last quarter.
Apple sold 3.4 million Macs in the quarter, despite the economic downturn and the fact that the lowest-priced Mac retails for $1,000.
The company lowered prices for many of its products last quarter, but still managed to grow its gross margin to 40.9 per cent, up from 37.9 per cent a year ago. Apple said lower component prices fueled its surprising margin growth, which beat Wall Street's consensus forecast by more than five per centage points.
Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, said on a conference call with investors that the company anticipates earnings of about $2.06 to $2.18 per share in the current quarter on revenue of about $11 billion to $11.4 billion.
Apple is most likely looking to its much-rumoured tablet computer to become its next revolutionary product-and cash cow, CNNMoney.com said.
Apple has remained mum about the device and has not officially confirmed that it even exists. But analysts, who have been briefed on the device cited by CNNMoney.com say it will have a 10-inch screen and retail for about $800 to $1,000.
Although some analysts believe the device could revolutionize the handheld world in the same way the iPhone changed the smartphone market and the iPod changed the way we listen to music, others are sceptical that consumers will want to carry around a tablet, it said.