Apple triumphs as sales rocket

APPLE smashed market expectations with another blockbuster set of results yesterday as soaring demand for its gadgets caused profits to almost double.

Record sales of iPhones and Mac computers pushed its profits up 95 per cent to $5.99bn (£3.7bn) in its second quarter results, from $3.07bn in the same period in 2010 – while revenues rose 83 per cent to $24.7bn.

Apple, which launched its upgraded iPad 2 last month, sold 4.7m of its tablets in the three months, while customers bought 3.8m of its re-launched MacBook Air and Pro computers, up 28 per cent on 2010.

Customers also snapped up 18.65m iPhones, a whopping 113 per cent increase on 2010 and up from 16.24m in the previous quarter.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, said the results “set a new all time quarterly record for iPhone sales” and said they “continue to be thrilled with the momentum” of interest in iPads.

iPhone sales were significantly higher than growth elsewhere in the global smartphone market, he said, as sales in China and the US went “off the charts”. Greater China saw a 250 per cent growth in orders year-on-year, which “catapulted” sales from the region up to $5bn, he said.

In the US, its deal to allow operator Verizon to offer the phone saw sales revenues jump 155 per cent year-on-year – three times the growth of the smartphone market.

Analysts questioned why iPad sales weren’t higher. Sales of about 6.3m had been expected and it moved 7.33m in the previous quarter to January. Concerns focused on lack of stock of the new iPad 2 at many retailers.

Oppenheimer said demand for the new iPad 2 “has been staggering” and admitted orders had exceeded expectations. “We are amazed at how we are still backed up on orders,” he said.

The only decline in Apple’s product line was seen in sales of iPods, its portable MP3 player, with a 17 per cent fall year-on-year. Sales dropped to 9.02m, from 10.89m in 2010, and from 19.45m in the previous quarter.

Apple, which sources hundreds of its parts from Japan, said the devastating earthquake would have some effect on its supply chain for components in the next quarter. None is expected later on in the year but it cautioned that the situation remained uncertain.

The results mark a second quarter of $6bn profit for the electronics giant, after January saw profits rise 78 per cent. Chief executive Steve Jobs (pictured), who was not on last night’s conference call with analysts, said in a statement that Apple was “firing on all cylinders”.