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Apple profits soar to $6 bil

Company boosted by phenomenal holiday quarter

Apple chief Steve Jobs may be out on medical leave, but his company couldn’t be healthier.

Profits at the computer-maker soared 78% during the last three months of 2010 to $6 billion, on a 70% surge in revenue of $26.7 billion.

The results surprised even Wall Street, which had expected strong demand for Apple’s iPad, iPhone, iPods and Macintosh computers during the peak holiday shopping season.

“We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales,” Jobs said in a statement. “We are firing on all cylinders, and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon, which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”

But if analysts wanted more insight into Apple’s future plans without Jobs at the company’s corporate headquarters outside San Francisco, they were left without answers Tuesday during a conference call.

During the hourlong session, Apple declined to discuss Jobs’ role outside of what had been revealed Monday, when it was announced that chief operating officer Timothy Cook would handle daily oversight of the company, which Jobs founded three decades ago. This is Jobs’ second medical leave after taking time off to undergo a liver transplant more than a year and a half ago.

Instead, Apple touted its achievements during the most recent quarter.

The company sold 16.2 million iPhones during the period, 86% more than the final quarter of 2009, and 4.1 million Macintosh computers, 23% more than the year-ago period.

At the same time, Apple sold 7.3 million iPads, 75% more than the previous quarter, further proving that tablets are capturing the interest of consumers rather than proving a new fad for the computer biz.

International sales accounted for 62% of the quarter’s revenue, with the Asian market up 67%.

Apple said it expects to earn $22 billion in revenue over the next three months, the period when Verizon will start selling the iPhone 4.

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