Apple profits rise 58 percent as Mac sales top 2.3 million

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Apple said Tuesday that first-quarter profits rose 58 percent to $1.58 billion, or $1.76 per diluted share, on sales of $9.6 billion for the three-month period ended December 29, 2007.

The results compare to revenue of $7.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $1 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 34.7 percent, up from 31.2 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 45 percent of the quarter's revenue.

Apple shipped 2,319,000 Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing 44 percent unit growth and 47 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. The company also sold 22,121,000 iPods, representing five percent unit growth and 17 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone sales came in at 2,315,000.

"We're thrilled to report our best quarter ever, with the highest revenue and earnings in Apple's history," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. "We have an incredibly strong new product pipeline for 2008, starting with MacBook Air, Mac Pro and iTunes Movie Rentals in the first two weeks."

Overall, Apple's revenue grew 35 percent year-over-year to $9.6 billion, an increase of almost $2.5 billion over the previous December quarter's record-breaking results.

"Our strong results produced cash flow from operations of over $2.7 billion during the quarter, yielding an ending cash balance of over $18.4 billion," said Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer. "Looking ahead to the second quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect revenue of about $6.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $.94."

Apple will conduct its Q1 2008 financial results conference call in about 30 minutes — AppleInsider will provide full coverage.