Apple profit soars on rocketing iPhone-iPad sales

Apple's coffers continued to swell in the first three months of the year due to record sales of iPhones and iPad tablet computers, particularly in China and other parts of Asia.

Apple reported on Tuesday that it made a profit of $11.6 billion on revenue of $39.2 billion in the quarter ended March 31. The amount of cash Apple had on hand grew $12 billion to $110.2 billion.

Sales of iPads more than doubled from the same quarter the previous year and iPhone sales surged 88 percent.

"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."

Apple's net income for its second fiscal quarter was nearly double that seen in the same period a year earlier, when sales tallied $24.7 billion.

The Cupertino, California-based company released the third-generation of its market-ruling iPad tablet computer in March, meaning its blockbuster sales have only begun to pump up Apple's bottom line.

"Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter, we expect revenue of about $34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $8.68," said Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer.

While Apple gadgets were hot in markets around the world, demand was "mind-boggling" in China, where revenue for the quarter was a record-high $7.9 billion, Cook said in an earnings conference call.

Apple took in $12.4 billion in China in the six months that mark the first half of its current fiscal year, promising that the company will easily eclipse the $13.3 billion in sales in that country in the entire prior fiscal year.

"China has an enormous number of people moving into higher income groups, middle-class if you will, and this is creating a demand for goods," Cook said.

"There is tremendous opportunity for companies that understand China, and we are doing everything we can to understand it."

Cook said that Apple had the "mother of all Januaries" that included tending to a huge backlog of gadget orders and launching the iPhone 4 in China.

Apple is scrambling to keep up with demand for iPads around the world.

"The new iPad is on fire," Oppenheimer said. "We are selling them as fast as we can make them."

The tablet computers are being embraced by companies, schools, and governments as well as by gadget lovers, according to Apple.

Apple sold two iPads for every Macintosh computer sold in the education market while still reporting record Mac sales.

The US Air Force allows flight crew members to use iPads to help do their jobs, and engineering and construction project titan Bechtel lets workers use the tablet computers in the field, according to Apple.

About three quarters of the world's top corporations are either using or testing iPads, according to Cook.

Overall sales of devices running on Apple's iOS mobile operating system have topped 365 million and the "ecosystem" of applications and accessories continues to blossom, according to executives.

Apple's online App Store boasts more than 600,000 mini-programs tailored for the company's coveted gadgets, with more than a third of those "apps" devoted to the iPad.

The iTunes online shop for music, films, and other digital content brought in a record-high $1.9 billion in revenue during Apple's recently ended second fiscal quarter.

More than 125 million people are using the iCloud service Apple launched in October as a way for users of its devices to store music, pictures, video and other digital data online at the company's datacenters.

Greenpeace marked the day by releasing black balloons in Apple stores in San Francisco, New York City, and Toronto to urge the technology powerhouse to use clean energy sources for its datacenters.

Apple's stock price reversed a losing trend for the day after the release of the earnings figures, jumping more than seven percent to $600.30 a share on the Nasdaq exchange.

Cook sidestepped when asked whether Apple would ease off on patent wars it is waging in courts in various countries.

"I've always hated litigation and I continue to hate it," Cook said while discussing the potential to resolve patent disputes out of court.

"I would prefer to settle (but) it is very important Apple not become the developer for the world; people need to invent their own stuff."

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