Apple revealed its third quarter 2006 results last night, revealing the second highest quarterly sales and earnings in its history.

The company posted revenue of $4.37 billion and a net quarterly profit of $472 million, or $.54 per diluted share in the quarter, which ended July 1, 2006.

The company achieved revenue of $3.52 billion and a net profit of $320 million, or $.37 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin was 30.3 per cent, up from 29.7 per cent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 39 per cent of the quarter's revenue.

Revenues climbed 24 per cent, year on year, while earnings climbed 48 per cent.

Apple shipped 1,327,000 Macs and 8,111,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 12 per cent growth in Macs and 32 per cent growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter.

"We're thrilled with the growth of our Mac business, and especially that over 75 per cent of the Macs sold during the quarter used Intel processors. This is the smoothest and most successful transition that any of us have ever experienced," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Jobs revealed that the iPod's market share in the US remains in excess of 75 per cent, adding: "We are extremely excited about future iPod products in our pipeline."

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, said: "Looking ahead to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006, we expect revenue of about $4.5 to $4.6 billion."

The company also issued a statement regarding previously disclosed financial irregularities in the manner of granting options: "As previously announced, an internal investigation discovered irregularities related to the issuance of certain stock option grants made between 1997 and 2001. A special committee of Apple's outside directors has hired independent counsel to perform an investigation and the company has informed the SEC. At this time, based upon the irregularities identified to date, management does not anticipate any material adjustment to the financial results included in this earnings release. However, if additional irregularities are identified by the independent investigation, a material adjustment to the financial information could be required."