Apple Quarterly Earnings Beat Expectations on Sales of 48 Million iPhones

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Apple CEO Tim Cook

The stock moves higher in the after-hours session as the company beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

Apple reported quarterly revenue that rose more than 22 percent as sales of iPhones jumped 36 percent. The stock was rising in after-hours trading on Tuesday, as the massive new-media technology company beat financial expectations on the bottom and top lines.

Analysts had predicted Apple would post $1.88 in per-share earnings, but it beat that by nine cents, and Apple had forecasted its revenue would be up to $51 billion, and it beat that by $500 million. A year earlier, Apple earned $1.42 per share on $42.1 billion in revenue.

Apple's biggest revenue generator is the iPhone and, spurred by its launch of the 6S and 6S Plus, analysts expected Apple to sell about 48 million iPhones during the quarter. Apple reported that it, indeed, sold 48 million iPhones. 

Apple said its financial results for the quarter were a new record, as were the number of iPhone sales. Also contributing to the healthy results were record sales of the Mac computer and the expanded availability of the Apple Watch.

In the all-important current quarter, which is highlighted by the Christmas gift-giving season, Apple said it will generate up to $77.5 billion in revenue while analysts expected guidance for a much as $77 billion.

CEO Tim Cook said Apple is "heading into the holidays with our strongest product lineup yet," including an all-new Apple TV that will begin shipping this week.

Shares of Apple closed down 1 percent in the normal session on Tuesday and were 3 percent higher after the closing bell once its fiscal fourth-quarter results were disclosed. Apple also said Tuesday it will pay a dividend of 52 cents per share to shareholders of record as of Nov. 9.

During a conference call with analysts, Cook spoke of honoring "human rights," the environment and privacy while assuring the quality of Apple's products. He also said the Apple Watch saves lives, perhaps a reference to a teenager who said his life was saved when his new watch told him his heart rate was double what it should have been.