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Apple earnings: 35.1M iPhones, 11.8M iPads

Apple Event 10/4 Apple LogoApple (s aapl) is still on a roll. The company reported quarterly earnings Tuesday that surpassed Wall Street expectations thanks to stronger-than-expected iPhone sales and a huge increase in iPad sales.

For the period ending March 31st, Apple recorded $39.2 billion in revenue and $11.6 billion in profit, or $12.30 per share. That compares to expectations of $36.81 billion in revenue and $10.06 in earnings per share.

A year ago, Apple recorded $24.7 billion in revenue and $6 billion in profit. One of the biggest companies in technology continues to grow at an astonishing pace solely driven by its iOS business: Mac unit sales grew just 7 percent compared to last year and iPod unit sales declined 15 percent.

Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones during the quarter and 11.8 million iPads, increases of 88 percent and 151 percent, respectively, to the same period last year. That’s substantially more iPhones than analysts had predicted going into Apple’s earnings, as Erica Ogg pointed out yesterday: the consensus estimate was around 30 million iPhones. It seems that Apple watchers had expected a drop-off in demand following the launch of the iPhone 4S in last year’s fourth quarter as well as the usual slump in consumer electronics buying that follows the calendar into a new year.

Investors were also nervous ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, following earnings reports from Verizon (s vz) and AT&T (s t) that showed a pretty strong drop in quarter-to-quarter iPhone activations. But 35.1 million overall iPhones in the March quarter compares to 37.1 million iPhones sold during the fourth quarter, suggesting that growth was strong outside the U.S.

The Asia-Pacific region in general was a big one for Apple this quarter, and China specifically was strong, said Apple CEO Tim Cook on the earnings conference call following the release of the numbers. Apple has now recorded $12.4 billion in revenue in China for the first two quarters of its fiscal year, compared to $13.3 billion in revenue from China in all of last year. The launch of the iPhone 4S and China Telecom’s support was the big reason for the jump, he said.

The iPad number came in around where Apple watchers had guessed: most were expecting just under 12 million iPads to have been purchased over the quarter. That period, of course, was the first full period during which the new iPad went on sale.

Apple didn’t release specific numbers for sales of the new iPad, but Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said that the company was selling all the new iPads that it could make. Supply constraints were not as bad as last year, either, due to the “highest launch supply” Apple has ever seen for an iPad launch, he said.

Oppenheimer suggested that sales of the lower-priced iPad 2 were strong, however, noting that U.S. educational customers purchased two iPads for every Mac they purchased during the quarter. The new lower price probably had a lot to do with the demand from those buyers, but Apple is still learning how responsive tablet buyers are to price changes, Cook said.

Apple now has $110.2 billion in cash and marketable securities, Oppenheimer said.

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