Apple Sets Revenue Record on iPod Sales

NEW YORK Apple posted its first-ever quarter of more than $10 billion in revenue, in part due to sales of the iPod, which proved a popular holiday gift worldwide despite the U.S. recession.

The company said Wednesday that its revenue rose 6 percent to $10.2 billion in the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 27, while earnings rose 2 percent to $1.6 billion.

The financial report came as Wall Street mulled news that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating whether Apple hid the truth about the poor health of CEO Steve Jobs, who recently began a medical leave.

The first question on a conference call yesterday was about Jobs, and it was answered by Apple COO Timothy Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer.

“The values of our company are extremely well entrenched,” Cook said. “We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing.”

Oppenheimer added that Jobs remains involved in strategy and major decisions, even as Cook has taken over day-to-day operations of the company during Jobs’ absence.

Beyond revenue, Apple also set records by selling 22.7 million iPods — up 3 percent from a year ago — and logged the biggest quarter ever for its iTunes store, though Apple didn’t offer specific numbers regarding the latter.

Cook also noted “a tremendous pickup” in sales of Apple TV, giving credit to the box’s added capability of movie rentals. Cook cautioned: “We still consider this a hobby.”

Sales of Mac computers rose 9 percent to 2.52 million, but sales of iPhones fell — not unexpectedly — 14 percent to 4.3 million.

As usual, Apple gave a conservative forecast of up to $8 billion in revenue for the current quarter and up to $1 a share in earnings. Nevertheless, shares of Apple rose as much as 10 percent in after-hours trading after gaining almost 5 percent during the regular session on Wednesday.

While the economy remains in bad shape, Cook said, it’s not as “unpredictable” as it was just three months ago.