Apple raises sales forecast after 'phenomenal' quarter

Apple shot back at its critics last night with a set of financial figures that surpassed expectations and promised that, far from experiencing a drop-off in sales as a result of problems with the new iPhone 4, the company forsees even better results to come in the next few months.

The technology giant told Wall Street analysts to raise their forecasts for sales in the next quarter by a full $1bn (£655m). Where most analysts had expected three-month sales of $17bn, Apple said it was on course to reach at least $18bn, as iPad tablet computers and the latest version of the iPhone continue to fly off the shelves.

The company is also seeing a surge in sales of Macintosh computers. Only the iPod, the digital music player that returned Apple to the pinnacle of cool, is showing signs of ageing. In the three months to 26 June, iPod sales dipped 8 per cent from a year ago, as users preferred the bigger iPad or a more versatile iPhone.

The company shipped 8.4 million iPhones in the just-ended quarter, a 61 per cent increase, and 3.3 million iPads, which went on sale in April. In all, it reported record revenue of $15.7bn and brought in profits of $3.25bn – more than 10 per cent higher than Wall Street had been expecting.

"It was a phenomenal quarter that exceeded our expectations all around, including the most successful product launch in Apple's history with iPhone 4," said Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive. "iPad is off to a terrific start, more people are buying Macs than ever before, and we have amazing new products still to come this year."

It was the bullish guidance for the new quarter just under way which sent Apple's shares up more than 2 per cent in after-hours trading last night. The stock has been under pressure since reports began emerging that the new iPhone 4 had problems with the design of its antenna and was dropping calls more frequently than earlier models. Analysts had feared that the controversy – which Mr Jobs called "antennagate" at an emergency press conference last week – could hurt future sales, but the company said the problem is being exaggerated, is common to all smartphones and can be resolved by using a case, or "bumper" around the phone.

Apple is giving free bumpers out to iPhone 4 users until the end of September.

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