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Apple Reports First-Ever Billion-Dollar Quarterly Profit

Apple reported a 78% surge in quarterly profit, boosted by strong holiday sales of iPod digital music players.

Apple, known for giving cautious forecasts, also said it expects earnings per share in the current quarter of 54 cents to 56 cents and revenue of $4.8 billion to $4.9 billion. Consensus estimates put Apple's second quarter per-share profit at 60 cents.

Apple said net income for its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 30 rose to $1.004 billion, or $1.14 a share, from $565 million, or 65 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $7.12 billion from $5.75 billion.

A consensus estimate compiled by Thomson First Call predicted Apple reporting a first-quarter profit of 78 cents a share. The results compared with Apple's own earlier forecast of earnings per share of 70 cents to 73 cents and revenue of $6.0 billion to $6.2 billion.

The most recent quarter was Apple's first-ever with profits reaching $1 billion. Apple shipped 1.6 million Macs and more than 21 million iPods during the quarter, representing growth of 28% and 50% respectively from the year-ago holiday season.