Apple sets revenue record on iPod sales

Company posts first -ever $10 billion quarter

Apple posted its first-ever quarter of more than $10 billion in revenues in part due to sales of the iPod, which proved a popular Christmas gift worldwide despite the U.S. recession.

The company said Wednesday that its revs rose 6% to $10.2 billion in the fiscal first quarter that ended Dec. 27, while earnings rose 2% to $1.6 billion.

The financial report came as Wall Street mulled news that the SEC was investigating whether Apple hid the truth about the poor health of CEO Steve Jobs, who recently announced a medical leave.

On a conference call Wednesday, the first question was about Jobs, and it was answered by both COO Timothy Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer.

"The values of our company are extremely well entrenched," Cook said. "We believe that we're on the face of the earth to make great products, and that's not changing."

Oppenheimer added that Jobs remains involved in strategy and major decisions, even as Cook has taken over day-to-day operations of the company during Jobs' absence.

Beyond revenue, Apple also set records by selling 22.7 million iPods -- up 3% from a year ago -- and logged its biggest quarter ever for its iTunes store, though Apple didn't offer specific numbers regarding the latter.

Cook also noted "a tremendous pickup" in sales of Apple TV, giving credit to the box's added capability of movie rentals. Cook added, though, that "we still consider this a hobby."

Sales of Mac computers rose 9% to 2.52 million but sales of iPhones fell -- not unexpectedly --14% to 4.3 million.

As usual, Apple gave a conservative forecast of up to $8 billion in revenue for the current quarter and up to $1 a share in earnings. Nevertheless, shares of Apple rose as much as 10% in after-hours trading after gaining almost 5% during the regular session.

While the economy remains in bad shape, Cook said, it's not as "unpredictable" as it was just three months ago.
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