Apple Tuesday night announced a 58 per cent increase in profits for its first quarter ended 29 December, 2007.

"We're thrilled to report our best quarter ever, with the highest revenue and earnings in Apple's history," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We have an incredibly strong new product pipeline for 2008, starting with MacBook Air, Mac Pro and iTunes Movie Rentals in the first two weeks."

The financial results for its fiscal 2008 first quarter saw Apple secure revenue of $9.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.58 billion, or $1.76 per diluted share.

These results compare to revenue of $7.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $1 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 34.7 per cent, up from 31.2 per cent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 45 per cent of the quarter's revenue.

Confirming speculation, Mac sales in the quarter were strong. Apple shipped 2,319,000 Macs, representing 44 per cent unit growth and 47 per cent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter.

Apple also sold 22,121,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 5 per cent unit growth and 17 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter.

Apple confirmed 2,315,000 iPhone sales in the quarter.

"Apple's revenue grew 35 per cent year-over-year to $9.6 billion, an increase of almost $2.5 billion over the previous December quarter's record-breaking results," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO.

"Our strong results produced cash flow from operations of over $2.7 billion during the quarter, yielding an ending cash balance of over $18.4 billion. Looking ahead to the second quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect revenue of about $6.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $.94."