Laptops drove Apple's Mac sales in its March quarter, the company confirmed last night.

MacBook and MacBook Pro sales grew 79 per cent year-on-year – 59 per cent of all Macs sold were portable systems.

Sales of these popular portables added an impressive $1.354 billion to Apple's bottom line, with 891,000 notebooks sold in the 13 weeks to 31 March. Apple also sold 626,000 desktop Macs attracting $914 million in revenue in the quarter.

Clearly it is Apple's well-integrated portable systems that are helping drive Mac resurgence: “The Mac is clearly gaining market share, with sales growing 36 percent – more than three times the industry growth rate,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Half of Apple's sales were generated by direct sales through its retail and online sales channels.

On a regional basis, Apple's sales in America continue to dominate, generating $2,447 billion in revenue (up 15 per cent). Apple sold 605,000 Macs there in the quarter.

Apple Europe sold 433,000 Macs for $1.249 billion in revenues, up 29 percent year-on-year. Apple Asia-Pacific ccounted for $430 million in revenues.

Apple Japan returned only $283 million in revenue, down 8 per cent year-on-year: "Japan is literally the only market in the world that we’re not doing well in, and it is very frustrating," said chief operating officer, Tim Cook.

The strong quarter left Apple with a cash stockpile of $12,6 billion, but chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, said the company has no immediate plans to use this cash to make any strategic aquisitions at this time.