Apple's retail stores continue to make a significant contribution to overall sales.

The company's financial results show 216,000 Mac sales through its stores, generating $715 million in revenue.

That's up sequentially: Apple sold 154 thousand Macs to generate $636 million in sales in the last quarter. Overall, Apple sold 144,000 Macs for $555 million in revenue in the quarter, its financial statements show.

50 per cent are new to Mac

The company's retail stores saw revenue rise 29 per cent in the quarter. On average, each store generated $4.9 million in revenue during the quarter, which closed with 155 such stores open, according to chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer. He revealed that over 17 million customers visited an Apple retail store during the 13-week quarter.

Apple's new glass elevator-equipped New York City store has now become the company's largest retail concern, Oppenheimer said.

The move to switch to Mac continues apace. The Apple executive revealed that "nearly 50 per cent" of Macs sold in its retail channels are being sold to users who are new to the platform.

Strong global sales

In other news, Apple's European unit sales fell 5 per cent sequentially, but climbed 6 per cent, year on year. 301,000 Macs sold in Europe, generating $899 million in revenue.

In other territories, unit shipments also climbed on an annual basis: In the Americas (642,000 sales) units climbed 8 per cent; in Japan they climbed 4 per cent (79,000 sales). Apple's "Other Segments" category - which includes the Asia Pacific - saw unit sales climb 6 per cent to 89,000 Macs.

Desktops enter pre-sale cycle

Pent-up demand for Apple's new professional desktop Macs seems set to be high, as the company's desktop computer sales fell drastically: 23 per cent, year on year. It sold 529,000 desktop Macs (including iMacs and Mac minis) in the period, raising $705 million in revenue.

Portable computers such as the MacBook and MacBook pro generated a steady income stream for the company, with 798,000 portables sold. These sales raised $1.161 billion in revenue. Astonishingly, portable sales climbed 61 per cent year on year, in units and revenues.

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said that: "The market is moving more notebook". He added: "We believe that many of out creative professional customers have delayed purchases as they await new Intel-based Mac desktops."

Confirming the strong demand, Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook admitted that Apple has a backlog of unfulfilled MacBook orders, but promised the company would catch up with these "shortly".

He also admitted to "significant" downloads of Apple's Boot Camp software that lets Mac users run Windows on Intel machines.