Sales of the blockbuster iPhone 4S were 'on fire' in the first three months of the year, says Apple. Photo: Bloomberg
Apple has posted a monster profit of $US11.6 billion ($A11.24 billion) for the first three months of the year, driven by robust demand for the iPhone in China as well as purchases of a new version of its blockbuster iPad tablet.
The result, which outstripped Wall Street estimates, boosted the company's shares more than 7 percent over the same period.
"We're thrilled with sales of over 35 million iPhones and almost 12 million iPads in the March quarter," said Apple chief executive Tim Cook.
"The new iPad is off to a great start, and across the year you're going to see a lot more of the kind of innovation that only Apple can deliver."
Revenue for the quarter ended March 31 was $US39.2 billion as sales of iPad more than doubled from the same quarter the previous year and iPhone sales surged 88 per cent, according to Apple.
Apple's net income for the quarter was nearly double that seen in the same three month period a year earlier, when sales tallied $US24.7 billion.
Dispelling iPhone fears
Shares of the world's most valuable technology corporation resumed their rally after a two-week decline. Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones - its flagship product which accounts for about half its revenue - in the March quarter, outpacing the 30 million or so expected by Wall Street analysts.
"International iPhone sales were on fire," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer told Reuters in an interview, adding that sales of the smartphone in the Greater China region jumped five-fold from the previous year.
The strong results came after a 13 percent decline in Apple's share price over the past couple of weeks in unusually volatile trading. The stock had long been considered a must-have in most U.S. equity portfolios.
Results spur rally
"When you have a strong rally in a stock it often sells off for no better reason than uncertainty. I think you're going to see the naysayers go away," said Michael Yoshikami, CEO of YCMNet Advisors.
The Cupertino, California-based company released the third-generation of its market-ruling iPad tablet computer in March, meaning its blockbuster sales out-of-the-gate have only begun to pump up Apple's bottom line.
"Our record March quarter results drove $US14 billion in cash flow from operations," said Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer.
"Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter, we expect revenue of about $US34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $US8.68."
Apple stock price reversed a losing trend for the day after release of the earnings figures, jumping more than seven per cent to $US602.20 a share on the Nasdaq exchange.