Apple earnings: quarterly profits hit record territory thanks to soaring iPhone sales


Apple has reported record-breaking net profits for the three months to December 31, 2011, with its quarterly results smashing Wall Street estimates and pushing shares in the company up 8 percent into record territory.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Apple led the Nasdaq to gain 1 percent. Shares of the stock finished up 6.2 percent to close at $446.66.

The technology corporation reported on Tuesday that its profit for the holiday quarter had more than doubled, hitting $13.06 billion, up 118 percent from the same period in 2010, according to the BBC.

The leap was largely due to US consumers snapping up near-unprecedented numbers of iPhones and iPads, Reuters reported, with the introduction of the iPhone 4S in particular helping Apple more than double its iPhone sales in the last quarter of 2011.

The company sold 37 million iPhones over the holidays, bringing the total number of the devices sold since they went on sale in 2007 to 183 million, according to the New York Times.

Revenue from iPhone and iPad sales now accounts for nearly three quarters of Apple’s total revenue. The firm’s iPads also had a record quarter, with sales rising 111 percent compared with the same period in 2010. The company is expected to release its iPad 3 in March, according to the BBC.

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“Apple’s momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline,” said chief executive Tim Cook.

The company’s net income for the final quarter of 2011 ranked among the highest quarterly profits on record, cementing Apple’s role as the most valuable technology firm and putting the company in the sale league as energy companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Russia’s Gazprom OAO, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The release this fall of Amazon’s Kindle Fire represented the first credible challenge to Apple in the tablet computer market, with the Kindle coming in at less than half the price of the iPad and closely linked to Amazon’s online products, including movie, music and book services.

However, Cook told the New York Times that Apple’s iPad sales were not affected by Amazon’s Kindle products, which for the moment are less powerful and lack features like cameras.

“Customers will buy those and they’ll sell a fair number of units,” he said. “But I don’t think people who want iPads will settle for limited functions.”

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