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Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 01:40 pm PT (04:40 pm ET)

Apple profits surge 77% on record sales of 4.1M Macs, 16.2M iPhones, 7.3M iPads

Apple said Tuesday that first quarter profits rose more than 77% to $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share, driven by record sales in three of its four major product categories, helping the electronics giant smash Wall Street's consensus estimates yet again.

The Cupertino-based company also posted record revenue of $26.74 billion for the three-month period ended December 25, 2010, or more than $2 billion above consensus estimates, as independent analyst and AppleInsider contributor Andy Zaky predicted. The results compare to revenue of $15.68 billion and net quarterly profit of $3.38 billion, or $3.67 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Apple sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter, a 23 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The company also sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 86 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. iPod sales during the quarter totaled 19.45 million, representing a seven percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter, while iPad sales came in at 7.33 millionunits.

“We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales,” said Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs. “We are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”

Gross margin was 38.5 percent compared to 40.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“We couldn’t be happier with the performance of our business, generating $9.8 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $22 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $4.90.”

Apple will provide live streaming of its Q1 2011 financial results conference call beginning at 2:00 p.m. PST. AppleInsider will have full coverage.