Apple Computer made a net profit of $200 million for the third fiscal quarter – and last night vowed to maintain the momentum by unveiling “major new products” at Macworld Expo today.

The profits amount to 55 cents per diluted share on revenue of $1.825 billion for the quarter, which ended on July 1. International sales accounted for 46 per cent of revenue during the quarter.

Excluding $37 million in after-tax gains from the sale of 4.95 million shares of ARM Holdings, Apple’s profit would have been $163 million, or 45 cents per diluted share – a 29 per cent rise on the year-ago quarter. Revenues were also up, by 17 per cent from the year-ago quarter. Wall Street analysts had predicted earnings of 44 cents per share.

Products pledge Of the new products, chief financial officer Fred Anderson said: “It’s been about nine months since we had any major product introductions. We’re going to change that today and we think you’ll be impressed.”

Apple sold 1,016,000 units during the quarter, including 351,000 Power Mac G4 systems, 113,000 PowerBooks and nearly 450,000 iMacs. Sales were strongest in May and June, said Anderson. Apple has now shipped 3.7 million iMacs since its launch.

Anderson admitted that iMac sales were “below expectations”, something he attributed to predictions that new iMacs will be announced at Macworld Expo.

Apple’s gross margins increased to 29.8 per cent from 27.4 per cent in the year-ago quarter. Anderson attributed this to lower component costs, a higher number of Apple Store sales and stronger-than-expected sales of professional systems, which tend to carry higher margins.

Apple’s deal with Earthlink – its designated Internet service provider – is expected to rake in $45 million in annual incremental gross profits, Anderson said.

Operating expenses were down $375 million. Apple ended the quarter with a head count of 10,902, compared with 10,624 in March.

Apple anticipates sequential growth in the fourth quarter of more than 10 per cent.