Apple's chief financial officer Fred Anderson expressed the company's optimism regarding its performance during over the rest of 2002.

Speaking during Apple's financial results meeting yesterday, Anderson said: “While most of our competitors are reducing investment in research and development and head count, we've increased our R&D spending and feel positive about the investments we've made during the year.”

Describing Apple as being “poised” to take advantage of the predicted economic growth during the rest of the year, Anderson revealed that the company is predicting $1.6 billion in revenues for the period.

Apple also reported healthy flat-panel iMac sales, despite rising component costs. “We exited the quarter with a significant backlog of orders,” confessed Anderson. At some points, Apple was manufacturing 9-10,000 iMacs each day, he said.

Memory hopes Anderson expressed the hope that memory prices will flatten out in coming weeks. The company hopes to see the benefit of iMac price rises in the next quarter. However, component costs are volatile, so Apple has been conservative in its estimates for the next quarter, “I don't want to be wrong”, Anderson said. Component prices have driven the company's gross margins down to 27.4 per cent in the just past quarter.

The education market continues to be fruitful for the company, he revealed – the company expects to “do well” in this sector, he said.

Apple's retail stores, however, haven't reached profitability at this time, though revenues have risen from $48 to $70 million. They are attracting new customers, including those from the all-important professionals market – and 40 per cent of Mac sales have been to non-Mac users, Anderson claimed. The company hopes to bring these to profitability by the latter half of the year, Anderson said.

In other notes, 1.25 million downloads of iPhoto have taken place since Macworld Expo San Francisco. 3,600 Mac OS X applications are available now, said Anderson, and the company shipped 57,000 iPods during the quarter.