New markets boost Apple’s best quarter ever

Tina Nguyen Contributor
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Despite the routine rehashing of rumors concerning CEO Steve Jobs’s health, Apple today announced record-setting earnings for the third fiscal quarter, buoyed by new markets and hot consumer products.

In an open conference call with investors, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer credited record iPhone and iPad 2 sales for the company’s staggering third quarter revenue of $28.57 billion — the largest in Apple’s history, surpassing even holiday-quarter revenues. These numbers overshot Wall Street analysts’ earlier estimates by nearly $4 billion.

Apple also earned nearly $7.31 billion in profit this quarter, outstripping its past single-quarter record of $6 billion from earlier this year.

Consumer demand for the new iPad 2 appears to be fueling Apple’s financial success; the consumer electronics and computer giant sold 9.2 million in Q3, more than double the tablet’s sales last quarter.

“We sold every iPad we could make,” Oppenheimer said, noting that the ubiquitous tablet was now available in 64 countries — nearly twice as many markets as immediately after its early March release. (News Corp shares jump after Murdoch attacked at hearing)

The iPhone continues to bolster Apple’s tech dominance, with 20.3 million of the smartphones sold, passing the company’s flagship iPod. The MP3 player responsible for the company’s 2001 resurgence sold 7.54 million units, a 20 percent drop from last year’s sales.

However, the iPod Touch made up over half of those sales, fueling Apple’s thriving “apps” market: to date, Apple boasts the availability of 425,000 apps comprising 15 billion downloads to date.

“We’re thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82 percent and profits up 125 percent,” Jobs said in a statement. “Right now, we’re very focused and excited about bringing iOS 5 and iCloud to our users this fall.”

The market responded favorably, with Apple’s stock shooting up to nearly $400 per share in after-hours trading. Lucky Apple shareholders earned $7.79 per share.