Apple Bucks Trend, Reports Blowout Quarter

During the quarter ended Dec. 27, Apple racked up net profit of $1.61 billion, or $1.78 per diluted share, on revenue of $10.17 billion, both of which represent new records for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company. In the year-ago quarter, Apple reported net profit of $1.58 billion, or $1.76 per diluted share, and revenue of $9.6 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected earnings of $1.38 per share on revenue of $9.74 billion, while Apple's guidance called for earnings per share of between $1.06 and $1.35 and revenue between $9 billion and $10 billion.

Apple's Q2 guidance was somewhat subdued, however. The company expects earnings per share of between 90 cents to $1 on revenue of between $7.6 billion and $8 billion. Wall Street analysts had expected $1.13 per share on $8.2 billion in revenue.

Apple sold just over 4.3 million iPhones during the quarter, up 88 percent from the year-ago period. Mac sales were up 9 percent with about 2.5 million units sold, and while iPod sales grew just 3 percent, Apple sold a record 22.7 million of the portable music devices.

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In a Q&A session, the first question posed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer had to do with Steve Jobs' health and Cook's plans for running the company. They declined to comment on Jobs' health, but Cook did reference the "extraordinary breadth and depth" in Apple's executive team and said there won't be any major changes in Apple's product development plans.

Cook also said netbooks are plagued by bad software, cramped keyboards and hardware that customers don't want. Apple does have some ideas in this space, but isn't planning any products at this stage, Cook said.

Cook and Oppenheimer also declined to answer two other burning questions within the Apple blogosphere: The release date for OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and the percentage of paid apps in the 500 million App Store downloads Apple has served up to iPhone and iPod Touch users to date.

Apple shares rose $7.46 to $90.26 in after-hours trading, after closing up $4.63 at $82.83.