Apple rides iPhone to strong Q1

Company's earnings rise 118% on strong sales of iPhone, iPad

Strong sales of its iPhone propelled Apple to a strong fiscal 2012 first quarter, with the company reporting net income of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 a share, 118% above net income of $6 billion, or $6.43 a share, in last year's first quarter.

Revenue increased 73% to $46.33 billion from $26.74 billion a year ago in the quarter ended December 31. Average analyst estimates for Q1 called for net income of $10.08 a share on revenue of $38.85 billion. Apple blew away both with ease.

Shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) soared as high as 468.95 in extended trading, or 11.5% above Tuesday's regular session closing price of 420.41. Sounds like Apple will be poised to break its all-time record of 431.37 set just last Thursday when the market opens on Wednesday.

Fueling Apple's record quarterly revenue were sales of its iPhone, particularly the new iPhone 4S. Apple reported selling 37.04 million iPhones, up 128% from 16.24 million in last year's Q1 and well above analyst estimates that ranged from 25 million to 30 million units.

Sales of the iPad also more than doubled from the year-ago quarter, with 15.43 million of the market-leading tablet being sold, versus 7.33 million last year.

Not surprisingly, given the growing popularity of the iPhone, which enables users to store, access and play multimedia files, sales of the iPod music player dropped 21% to 15.38 million units from 19.45 million in last year's Q1.

“We’re thrilled with our outstanding results and record-breaking sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a statement. “Apple’s momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline.”

Apple said it expects earnings for the second quarter of $8.50 a share on revenue of $32.5 billion. Analysts are forecasting an average of $8.02 a share in profits and revenue of $32 billion.

If anything interesting comes up during Apple's earnings conference call, I'll add it here. Otherwise, I'll look at more of the numbers on Wednesday.

I'll probably even write about Yahoo's earnings for its first full quarter under new CEO Scott Thompson, not that anything's changed, believe me.

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