Apple’s stellar quarter generated sales of $46.3 billion, a tech industry report said. That’s up 73% from a year ago, and it easily topped Wall Street analysts’ $38.9 billion median forecast, a Thomson Reuters poll shows.
Apple had $127.8 billion in sales during the 2011 calendar year, putting it neck-and-neck with Hewlett-Packard, the nation’s largest tech company. This year, Apple is on pace to become the biggest technology company in the world, measured by revenue, outpacing current global No. 1 Samsung. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said its fiscal first quarter profit rose to $13 billion, or $13.87 per share, more than double the profit Apple booked a year earlier. Apple is sitting on most of those profits. It now has $97.6 billion in cash.
Apple’s iPhone sales were lifted by October’s launch of the iPhone 4S, the eagerly awaited successor to the iPhone 4. The Siri-powered device came out months later than its predecessors did in past years, sending pent-up demand sky-high for the phone. The iPhone alone generated $24.4 billion in sales during the quarter for Apple. The iPad expectations also went beyond the box. Apple Stores performed very well during the holidays, generating $6.1 billion during the quarter.
For the current quarter, Apple said it expects earnings of $8.50 per share on sales of $32.5 billion. Historically, Apple’s outlook has tended to be quite conservative, so investors were cheered that Apple’s forecast was more optimistic than most analysts’.
Shares of Apple rose 8% in after-hours trading.