As revenue soared to an unprecedented $26.74 billion during the year-end holiday shopping season, Apple reported a record quarterly net profit of $6 billion.
Apple sold 7.33 million iPad tablet computers and 16.24 million iPhones in the final three months of 2010.
The blockbuster earnings report came a day after Apple's iconic chief executive Steve Jobs announced he is taking medical leave for an indefinite period, ceding day-to-day operations to chief operating officer Timothy Cook.
"We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales," Jobs said. "We are firing on all cylinders and we've got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can't wait to get their hands on."
Apple sold 4.13 million Macintosh computers in the quarter, while the number of iPods sold slipped seven percent to 19.45 million.
Net profit in the quarter was nearly double the $3.38 billion posted in the same period a year earlier.
"We couldn't be happier with the performance of our business, generating $9.8 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter," said Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer.
He forecast that Apple revenue in the current quarter would be about $22 billion and that earnings for this quarter would be about $4.90 per share.
Apple has sold approximately 14.79 iPad since the tablet computers hit the market in April, according to a tally of figures made public in earnings releases.
"We are already up to 80% of the largest companies deploying or piloting the product," Cook said of the iPad during an earnings call with analysts who asked no questions about Jobs. "This is generally unheard of. I think there is a huge play here for us."
Apple stock rose around 1.5% to $346.05 in after-hours trading that followed the earnings release but failed to recover all of the ground it lost earlier in the day in reaction to news that Jobs is ill. Apple, whose share price rose 60% last year, had closed at a record high of $348.48 in New York on Jan. 14. Wall Street was closed for a holiday on Jan. 17.
In announcing he was going on medical leave, his third since 2004, the 55-year-old Jobs did not say how long he expected to be away or provide any details about his latest health issues. Jobs underwent an operation for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and received a liver transplant in early 2009. He has appeared gaunt but relatively healthy at recent Apple public events.
Analysts said Jobs was leaving the company in the hands of a competent team of managers. "At the end of the day, there is more to Apple than Steve," said analyst Michael Gartenberg, a partner at Altimeter Group. "These are all people who have been trained by Steve, worked closely with Steve and are the embodiment of Apple's core culture."
Product plans are typically mapped out two years in advance, so possible launches of successors to the iPhone and iPad later this year would not change with Jobs ceding the Apple helm to Cook, analysts said. They also noted that Cook has filled in for Jobs in the past, with Apple thriving during his absence.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011