Apple outstrips expectations, ships 18.6M iPhones, 4.7M iPads in quarter

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shipped a whopping 18.6 million iPhones in its most recent quarter, along with 4.7 million iPads. The company reported a net profit of $6 billion on revenue of $24.7 billion.

Click here for Apple's quarterly iPhone sales numbers.

Click here for Apple's quarterly iPhone sales numbers.

"With quarterly revenue growth of 83 percent and profit growth of 95 percent, we're firing on all cylinders," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We will continue to innovate on all fronts throughout the remainder of the year."

The financial results surpassed many analysts' expectations. Apple's stock was up more than 2 percent in after-hours trading immediately following the release of its results, to around $350 per share.

The numbers were such that, according to Strategy Analytics, Apple overtook Nokia to become the world's largest handset vendor in revenue terms during the first quarter of 2011. The firm said that, in revenue terms, Apple is now the world's largest handset vendor, smartphone vendor and tablet vendor.

"We estimate Apple's wholesale revenues for its iPhone handset division stood at $11.9 billion in the first quarter of 2011. Apple overtook Nokia for the first time, which recorded a lower $9.4 billion of wholesale handset revenues," said Alex Spektor, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

In its previous quarter, Apple shipped 16.2 million iPhones and 7.3 million iPads.

Apple executives said the company's seemingly sluggish iPad sales in the quarter--4.7 million in its most recent quarter vs. 7.3 million in the previous quarter--were partially due to the launch of the iPad 2, which launched late in the quarter. Executives explained that potential iPad customers likely waited to purchase the new iteration of the gadget, which went on sale March 11.

On the iPad 2, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said "we sold every iPad 2 that we could make during the quarter." Apple executives said the company continues to work to meet demand.

During the company's quarterly conference call with analysts, Apple's Oppenheimer said the company recorded $12.3 billion in iPhone and iPhone accessory sales. He also said that, thanks in part to its new distribution deal with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Apple now sells its iPhone through 186 carriers worldwide in 90 countries.

Apple's Tim Cook touted the company's iPhone successes in the United States and China. He said iPhone sales in the United States were up around 155 percent year-over-year, due in part to the company's iPhone distribution deal with Verizon. Indeed, Verizon and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) combined activiated 5.8 million iPhones during the first quarter. He said Apple's sales in China were up 250 percent over the same period. Interestingly, Cook also hinted that Apple would expand its prepaid efforts to other countries after honing them in the Chinese market.

Apple's Oppenheimer also touted sales of the company's iPhone and iPad to enterprise users. He said 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying iPhones, and that 75 percent of Fortune 500 are testing or deploying iPads.

As for the disaster in Japan, Cook said Apple recorded "some revenue impact" during its most recent quarter related to the situation, but he said it was not material. He said Apple expects a $200 million revenue impact in its coming quarter due to the problems in Japan, which the company said it factored into its expectations. Cook said that Apple sources "hundreds" of components from Japanese suppliers, but that the company has put in place a number of contingency plans to deal with the situation. However, he warned that "the situation remains unpredictable" and that "there are some supply risks beyond the current quarter."

Cook said Apple would provide further guidance on the topic during its next quarterly conference call.

Finally, Cook said Apple's CEO Jobs remains on medical leave and continues to be involved with the direction of Apple. "He wants to be back full time as soon as he can," Cook said.

As for its coming quarter, Apple said it expects to report $23 billion in revenue and diluted earnings per share of about $5.03 in its upcoming quarter, figures below some Wall Street expectations, according to Barron's.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Morningstar earnings call transcript
- see this Barron's article
- see this FierceWireless Q1 earnings special report

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Article updated April 21 with details from Verizon.