Apple’s Earnings Exceed Wall Street Expectations with 37M of iPhones and 15.4M of iPads Sold

Apple’s quarterly profit more than doubled and revenue surged 74% to a record $46.3 billion as the company sold more iPhones, iPads and Mac computers than in any quarter in its history.

Apple has posted impressive quarterly earnings for the 14-week period ending on December 31, 2011. The company reported a net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 a share, handily outstripping an average Street forecast of $10.16 per share. The beat alone - by more than $3 a share, or $3.5 billion - would be a respectable sales figure for many smaller tech companies. Photo: Pedro Cano/Flickr

Apple Inc’s quarterly results blew past Wall Street’s expectations after U.S. consumers snapped up near-unprecedented numbers of iPhones and iPads, sending its shares up 8 percent into record territory.

According to a press release, the company reported a quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion, as well as a quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share, the company’s best quarterly results yet.

“These results compare to revenue of $26.74 billion and net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter,”according to the company’s press release.

It sold 37.04 million iPhones – its flagship product – and 15.43 million iPad tablets, doubling from a year earlier and easily outpacing already heightened expectations for a strong holiday season, reports Reuters.

That helped swell its warchest of cash and securities to almost $100 billion – more than enough to plug December’s U.S. budget deficit and level with California’s 2012/13 spending plan.

Apple’s bestselling product continued to be its iPhone. The company sold more than 37 million of the devices, eclipsing its iPhone sales record of more than 20 million set last June.

According to Los Angeles Times, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, said that demand for iPhones in China is “off the charts” and that, in general, global demand for the iPhone was so strong that Apple was having trouble keeping up.

“We made a very bold bet entering the quarter as to what the demand would be, and as it turns out, despite it being a very bold bet, we were short of supply,” Cook said in a conference call with investors.

“Going into 2012, I expect strength of iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad should carry on into the year. Apple still has some tailwind, including opening up new retail stores and expanding its distribution channels,” said Hendi Susanto at Gabelli & Co.

“I would say Apple still has many unpenetrated international markets … Apple is still far from its saturation.

Shares in Apple jumped 8 percent to about $452 in extended trade following the earnings report. The stock – which set a record high of $427.75 just this month – had closed at $420.41 on the Nasdaq.

Apple has ramped up sales of its iPhone in the U.S. and abroad, and is now selling the latest version of the device in 90 countries and at more than 110,000 global locations — a jump of 35% over the same quarter last year.

This month, the iPhone 4S went on sale in China, the world’s largest technology market and a country with about 1 billion mobile subscribers.

Several analysts had warned that Apple might face a rougher ride than usual in 2012.

Google Inc’s Android – a free software to run smartphones, adopted heavily by Samsung Electronics, Motorola and others – is chipping away at Apple’s market share. A host of tablets from Amazon.com Inc, among others, offers buyers viable alternatives.

On Tuesday, Apple also forecast results for its fiscal second quarter that were ahead of analyst estimates. It expects revenue of about $32.5 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $8.50. Wall Street had expected earnings of $8.04 per share on revenue of $32.1 billion in the fiscal second quarter.

“It sets up Apple well for the rest of the year,” said Canaccord Genuity’s Michael Walkley. “They are still ramping up the new geographies like the iPhone 4 in China, which they just started selling in January and we’ll see in March results.”

“IPhones and Siri (voice-activated software) still driving strong. An iPhone 5 for the end of the year with a new form factor and with LTE (next-generation mobile technology) will drive another set of gains in 2012,” he added.

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