Oppenheimer noted that the rise in Mac sales outpaced the 2-percent growth of the PC market for the quarter, according to figures tallied by market-research firm IDC. That marks the 19th time in the last 20 quarters that Mac sales have grown faster than overall PC market, Oppenheimer said.
Apple executives also cited a strong back-to-school quarter for the company. Sales to U.S. schools rose 12 per cent, as Apple tallied its highest quarterly sales ever for the U.S. education market. Those figures were buoyed by shipments of 50,000 books to Maine as part of that state's ongoing 1-to-1 Learning initiative.
Apple also noted particularly strong sales in its Asia Pacific market, with Mac sales increasing 42 per cent from the year-ago quarter.
Cook also said that Snow Leopard sales were stronger than Apple expected, with twice as many sales of Snow Leopard upgrades during the operating system's first five weeks on sale than Leopard made during its first five weeks.
iPhone sales rose 7 per cent from the year-ago quarter to nearly 7.4 million units. That compares to a little less than 6.9 million iPhones in the September 2008 quarter--a three-month period that saw Apple roll out the iPhone 3G in a number of markets around the globe.
For the quarter, Apple reported recognized revenue from iPhone handset sales of $2.3 billion. That's a 185-per cent jump from $806 million in last year's fourth quarter.
Apple executives pointed to several events that could continue the iPhone's momentum in the coming quarter. China Unicom will start selling the iPhone in China this month. "This very large market offers a great opportunity to expand sales," Oppenheimer said.
New carriers will be able to serve the iPhone in both the U.K. and Canada. That also opens up the iPhone to new customers in those countries.
Apple believes its App Store of mobile software from third-party developers gives it an edge over rival smartphones. The 85,000 apps in the store is "a country mile more than anyone else," Cook said, claiming that Apple's smartphone competitors are trying to match the original iPhone of 2007, not where Apple is now. "We feel good about competing against anyone," he added.
If Apple had any disappointments in the quarter, it would be in its iPod business, where sales of the handheld music players fell eight percent from the year-ago quarter to 10.2 million units. It was the second consecutive quarter where Apple saw iPod sales drop from the year-ago period.
However, Apple saw signs for optimism in its iPod numbers. According to the company, 50 percent of recent iPod buyers were purchasing their first iPod. What's more, sales of the iPod touch doubled when compared to the same quarter a year ago, and Apple believes it can attract even more customers to the widescreen music player after cutting the price of the 8GB iPod touch to $199 last month.
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