Apple Profits Surge, Boosted by iPhone Sales

Apple posted its best non-holiday quarter on record, nearly doubling its profit on “staggering” sales of iPhones, leaving little doubt that consumers are beginning to open their wallets as the economy improves.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said its revenue vaulted 49 percent to $13.5 billion, as consumers snatched up 8.75 million iPhones in the period, more than twice as many shipments compared with a year ago. Net income rose to $3.07 billion, well above $1.62 billion in the year-ago period.

“We’re thrilled to report our best non-holiday quarter revenue ever,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive.

The company said demand for its popular smartphone had been particularly strong in international markets, which accounted for 58 percent of its sales in the quarter. Sales of the iPhone skyrocketed by more than nine times in China, while overall revenue in Europe surged 63 percent, rose 51 percent in Japan, and nearly tripled in Asia Pacific to nearly $1.3 billion.

“The iPhone was off the charts,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer.

Apple’s results don’t include the sales of the recently launched iPad tablet, which hit store shelves earlier this month. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that the initial demand for the tablet device “shocked us” and sales have exceeded expectations. But, the company didn’t update its previous statement that it had sold half a million units in the first week.

“We’ve launched our revolutionary new iPad and users are loving it,” Jobs said. He also added that “several more extraordinary products” were in the pipeline for this year, of which, analysts expect a new iPhone — rumored to be called the iPhone 4 — for a launch in June or July.

The new device will feature an A4-class chip, a 960 by 640 pixel touch screen display, a front-facing camera and run iPhone OS 4.0 software with third-party multitasking.

Apple is the latest handset maker to report improved results that show consumers bouncing back from the global recession. Rival Sony Ericsson said last week it swung a quarterly profit, its first in nearly two years, citing strong sales of high-end smartphones.

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