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Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 01:39 pm PT (04:39 pm ET)

Apple's profits rise 20% on sales of 26M iPhones, 17M iPads, and 4M Macs

Apple said Tuesday that third-quarter profits rose just over 20 percent to $8.8 billion, or $9.32 per diluted share, on sales of $35.0 billion for the three-month period ended June 30, 2012.

The results compare to revenue of $28.6 billion and net profit of $7.3 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 42.8 percent compared to 41.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold 26.0 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 28 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter, in addition to 17.0 million iPads — an 84 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter.

Apple also shipped 4.0 million Macs during the quarter, a two percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. iPod sales continued to decline at a rate of 10 percent to 6.8 million units.

“We’re thrilled with record sales of 17 million iPads in the June quarter,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook. “We’ve also just updated the entire MacBook line, will release Mountain Lion tomorrow and will be launching iOS 6 this Fall. We are also really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline.”

Apple’s Board of Directors also declared Tuesday a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on August 16, 2012, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on August 13, 2012.

"We’re continuing to invest in the growth of our business and are pleased to be declaring a dividend of $2.65 per share today,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. "Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter, we expect revenue of about $34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $7.65."

Apple's results came in below analyst expectations, as most institutional market watchers expected Apple to report sales of nearly 29 million iPhones, according to data collected by Apple 2.0. The miss was even bigger for the more bullish independent analysts, who projected, on average, that Apple would sell more than 31 million iPhones in the quarter.

Apple will provide live streaming of its Q3 2012 financial results conference call beginning at 2:00 p.m. PDT today. AppleInsider will provide full coverage.