However, despite bumper Mac sales, shares fall 11 per cent due to alleged concerns over Jobs' health

Apple posts record third quarter results

Apple has posted its best third quarter ever, as bumper Mac sales and strong growth in its iPod business helped to push revenue to $7.46 billion (£3.72 billion) and net profit to $1.07 billion (£534 million).

During the quarter, 2.5 million Macs were sold, representing a 41 per cent growth and setting a new record in terms of units sold during a quarter. iPods also helped to boost the firm’s revenues, with 11 million sold during the quarter. However, Apple warned analysts during its conference call that declining ASPs had impacted, although the rise in units had countered the decline in revenues.

Year-on-year revenues for the quarter rose by 38 per cent – despite looming concerns over the strength of the US market. Europe provided a large boost to that figure, with revenues shooting up by 42 per cent to $1.65 billion (£825 million) – faster than any other region.

Revenue from Apple’s retail operation grew by 58 per cent to $1.45 billion (£725 million) during the quarter. However, despite footfall being up by 10 million compared to the same time in 2007, it fell by 1.7 million from the second quarter of 2008, prompting concerns that consumers may be feeling the impact of the credit crunch.

"We’re proud to report the best June quarter for both revenue and earnings in Apple’s history," commented chief executive Steve Jobs. "We set a new record for Mac sales, with think we have a real winner with our new iPhone 3G and we’re busy finishing several more wonderful new products to launch in the coming months.

Despite those concerns, Apple’s chief financial officer Paul Oppenheimer alluded to an upcoming product transition – most likely its much expected MacBook range refresh – as well as the introduction new product lines.

However, despite an positive set of results that beat Apple’s own predictions, shares were down by 11 per cent in after hours trading today following alleged concern over Steve Jobs’ health. There is speculation that the pancreatic cancer he fought five years ago may have returned.

Oppenheimer was coy on the issue when questioned by analysts in the company’s earnings call. "Steve loves Apple," he said. "He serves as the CEO at the pleasure of Apple’s board and has no plans to leave Apple."

However, in a comment that worried investors, Oppenheimer stated: "Steve’s health is a private matter." The stock market price of Apple was battered several years ago after investors reacted angrily to the firm’s failure to declare Jobs’ illness till after he was cleared.

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