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Monday, October 19, 2009, 03:45 pm PT (06:45 pm ET)

Apple says iPhone competitors still fail to compete

As smartphone companies attempt to catch up with the first-generation iPhone, Apple executive Tim Cook said during Monday's earnings report that his company remains multiple steps ahead of its competitors.

"Frankly I think people are trying to catch up with the first iPhone two years ago," Cook said. "We've long since moved beyond that."

Apple was faced with outstanding demand for the iPhone 3GS during the September quarter — something that even caught the hardware maker by surprise. Cook admitted that the company was forced to change its orders for components in response to consumer needs.

"I think it shows there is an intense appetite for Apple's latest technology," he said, "and we were very pleased with the result."

After the iPhone debuted in 2007, competitors rushed to emulate the touchscreen capabilities of the device. So far, numerous competitors have emerged, but all have failed to capture the buzz of the iPhone.

Google's smartphone OS has made attempts to chip away at the iPhone share, but so far has been largely unsuccessful. The latest Android handset attempting to steal some of the iPhone's buzz is the Motorola Droid, which was leaked in pictures Monday. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said his company is not concerned by any of the competitors' offerings they have seen thus far.

"We are continuing to focus on delivering state-of-the-art products at price points our competitors can't match," Oppenheimer said, "and will provide increasing value to our customers."

During the last quarter, Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones, a record setting pace that was 7 percent higher than the same period in 2008. It amounted to $2.297 billion revenue.

Sales are predicted to grow even further, as the device launches in China on Oct. 30. It will start with 1,000 points of sale and expand further over the next several months.

The average sale price of the iPhone in the fourth quarter was just over $600, a number that reflects a mix of high iPhone 3GS sales.

In addition, over 50 percent of the Fortune 100 are deploying a pilot program of the iPhone, Apple announced Monday, and over 350 higher education institutions have approved iPhones for students and faculty.