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Revenue was up by nearly 30% compared with the same period in 2013, while profit was up by 37%, mainly off the back of iPhone sales of 74.5 million units.
Apple benefited from rapidly growing sales in China, which were up by 70% compared with the same quarter a year before and contributed $16bn in revenue, compared with $17bn in the whole of Europe.
A report by research firm Canalys said Apple had become China's top seller of smartphones by units shipped in the last three months of 2014, according to the BBC.
“We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
He said the demand for iPhones was “staggering” in a conference call with financial analysts. In contrast, iPad sales fell by 18% and revenue fell by 22% in the quarter compared with a year earlier.
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Analysts said the success of the larger format iPhones was partly to blame for the decline of the iPad, but said Apple’s tablet is also facing growing competition from lower-priced rivals.
Apple chief financial officer Luca Maestri said the results produced earnings per share growth of 48% over the past year and a record $33.7bn in operating cash flow during the quarter.
“We spent over $8bn on our capital return programme, bringing total returns to investors to almost $103bn, over $57bn of which occurred in just the last 12 months,” he said.
Apple’s board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.47 per share of the company’s common stock, which is payable to all shareholders on record as of the close of business on 9 February, 2015.
The results boosted Apple’s shares by 7% in after-hours trade even though Apple posted more modest revenue expectations of $52bn to $55bn for the next quarter.