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Apple earns highest ever quarterly profit of $18 bn by any firm

Apple’s quarterly profit rocketed to a corporate record $18 billion at the end of last year on booming sales of big-screen iPhone models, especially in China. The California tech titan also announced yesterday that it had sold its one billionth device powered by its iOS mobile operating system, on a day of dizzying figures - even by Apple’s high standards.

And it said that its highly anticipated Apple Watch wearable devices, unveiled last year to fanfare, are on track to begin shipping in April. “We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” declared chief executive Tim Cook.

“Demand for iPhone has been staggering, shattering our expectation.” Blockbuster sales of the recently released iPhone 6, in particular, are signs of huge pent-up demand for larger-screen smartphones, likely to boost sales throughout this year, according to Forrester analyst Frank Gillett.

“I would expect the surge in China and elsewhere to hold for quite a while before it settles down,” Gillett said. “People have been waiting for an iPhone with a bigger screen and smartphones are only increasing in importance in our lives.”

The record quarterly profit -- on unprecedented revenue of $74.6 billion - was driven by the sale of 74.5 million iPhones, well ahead of most analysts’ expectations. The staggering profit topped the $15.9 billion made by ExxonMobil in the second quarter

of 2012, according to Standard and Poor’s, to write Apple into the history books. As well as the larger screen iPhone 6 models, analysts credited a partnership with China Mobile as powering sales.

Sales of iPhones doubled in Greater China, its number two smartphone market, according to chief financial officer Luca Maestri. Cook described the fevered excitement around the debut of iPhone 6
models in China as ‘phenomenal.’ “We are a big believer in China,” Cook said. But it was not just China: iPhone sales leapt 44 per cent in the United States and doubled in Brazil.’
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