Apple Inc.’s quarterly profit nearly doubled as consumers continued to snap up its iPhone and other products, and the company issued a forecast suggesting it will remain largely unscathed by last month’s Japan earthquake and the medical leave of Chief Executive Steve Jobs.
Apple on Wednesday posted a quarterly profit of $5.99 billion, up 95% from $3.07 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue rose 83% to $24.67 billion, while gross margin rose to 41.4% from 38.5%.
Apple’s quarter was stoked in particular by sales of the iPhone. The company began selling its iPhone 4 through Verizon Wireless in February—its second carrier in the U.S. after an exclusive arrangement with AT&T Inc. ended.
The company said Wednesday that it sold 18.6 million iPhones over the quarter, more than double that of a year ago. That figure was also 15% higher than the December quarter, which is typically Apple’s strongest period since it is fueled by holiday sales. Wall Street estimates had called for sales of 16.5 million iPhones over the quarter. “We saw stunning iPhone sales,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, in an interview.
The company forecast earnings per share of $5.03 in the current quarter, up 43.3% from a year ago, on revenue of about $23 billion, up about 46% from a year ago. While that was lower than some analysts’ estimates, they weren’t as low as many on Wall Street had feared.
In a conference call, Apple said it hasn’t been affected by the disaster in Japan in terms of sales or its supply chain, though it cautioned that the situation was still unpredictable.
“Apple employees have literally been working around the clock with our supplier partners in Japan and have been able to implement a number of contingency plans,” said Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook. While he said there were “some supply risks” beyond the current quarter, he said there was “no issue today that we view as unsolvable.”
Apple’s results and its forecast helped push up its shares in after-hours trading by 3.9% to $355.69 after closing at 4 p.m. at $342.41.
Mr. Jobs, 56 years old, who was diagnosed with a rare type of pancreatic cancer in the past, continues to be involved on major strategic decisions in the company, said Mr. Cook in the conference call.