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Apple Keeps Momentum With Record Quarter

CEO Cook discusses iPad adoption, China, patent litigation
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Going into Apple's earnings call today, some analysts said the company needed to post exceptional results to show Wall Street that it was still climbing. And it looks like Apple has done just that.

This afternoon, the Cupertino, Calif. company reported that quarterly revenue was up 59 percent to $39.2 billion this quarter from $24.7 billion in the same quarter last year, beating analysts' expectations. According to Yahoo Finance, analysts polled predicted the company would make $36.8 billion in revenue in the second quarter.

Apple also reported that quarterly net profit increased 93 percent to $11.6 billion this quarter from $6 billion in the year-ago quarter.

In a note yesterday, Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Partners, said, "Apple needs to smash records to keep momentum." Indicating that momentum has indeed been maintained (at least for now), shares in Apple climbed about 7 percent to $600.50 in after-hours trading today.

“We just reported the most amazing March quarter Apple has ever had," said Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer. "We feel very good about our business and our product pipeline."

Oppenheimer also reeled off some impressive sales stats: Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones, 11.8 million iPads and 4 million Macs during the quarter. Sales for all devices were up year over year, but the most impressive unit increase was for iPads. The company reported that sales for its tablet increased 151 percent over the year-ago quarter.

On the call with analysts, CEO Tim Cook put the iPad's rise in context, saying that while the company has sold 67 million iPads since its launch two years ago, it took Apple 24 years to sell as many Macs and five years to sell as many iPods.

As for iCloud, Apple said that since launching it in October, it attracted more than 125 million users.

Cook was effusive in talking about the company's growth in China. In the last quarter, he said the company brought in $7.9 billion in revenue in China, which is three times the amount it earned in the same quarter last year.

“It is mind-boggling that we could do this well," he said. Pent-up demand for the iPhone 4S contributed to the growth, Cook said, as well as the country's general economic conditions: As more people move into higher-income groups, they create a demand for higher-income products.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity for companies that understand China,” said Cook. “And we’re doing everything we can to understand it and serve the market as good as we can.“

Cook also gave a few colorful quips in response to analysts' questions. When asked about why he doesn't believe tablet and PC markets will converge, he said that while anything can be forced to converge, the problem is around the trade-offs.

"You can begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have at the end of the day doesn't please anyone," he said. "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator but that probably won't be pleasing to the user."

As for the Android patent litigation involving companies like Samsung, Cook said, “I’ve always hated litigation.

“I’d highly prefer to settle than to battle," he said. "The key thing is that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff.”