Apple doubles profit with record sales

Apple’s reported its highest ever quarterly revenue and earnings, largely thanks to the iPhone 4S, launched in October.

Revenue hit $46.33 billion, with a quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share – both nearly double the figures for the same period last year.

Gross margin was 44.7 percent, compared to 38.5 percent for the same quarter last year.

International sales accounted for 58 percent of the quarter’s revenue – and, announcing the results, CEO Tim Cook said the company had underestimated demand for the iPhone 4S in China. “We didn’t bet high enough,” he said.

After near-riots in Beijing when the iPhone 4S first went on sale earlier this month, the phone’s now only available in China through its  carrier Unicom and certain resellers, with the company’s online store sold out.

The Company sold 37.04 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 128 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. It shifted 15.43 million iPads, again more than twice as many as in the same period last year.

Mac sales rose more slowly, up 26 percent on last year, with 5.2 million sold. And iPod sales were down 21 percent at 15.4 million units.

“We’re thrilled with our outstanding results and record-breaking sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs,” said Cook. “Apple’s momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline.”

The results were even better than analysts were expecting, and the company’s shares jumped more than seven percent as a result. They look all the more impressive compared with Android rivals HTC and Motorola, which recently reported poorer-than-expected figures.

“We are very happy to have generated over $17.5 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO.

“Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 13 weeks, we expect revenue of about $32.5 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $8.50.”