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MacBooks, iPods power Apple's fourth quarter

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Apple has broken yet another quarterly sales record thanks to the power of Mac and customer demand for Intel-based MacBooks outstripping supply. Apple shipped 1.6m Macs in its Q4, besting its previous record of 1.3m in Q1 2000. For the three months to September 30, Mac sales rose 37 per cent to $2.21bn, and accounted for 58 per cent of quarterly revenue, with notebooks totaling 61 per cent of all orders.

Sales of MacBooks - launched in August - were slower than Apple liked, though, as not enough of the top 500 Mac applications had yet moved to Intel. Apple told Wall Street it expects 80 per cent of that list to be on Intel by December.

iPods and music sold through Apple's iTunes store accounted for 42 per cent of Apple's revenue. iPod shipments grew 36 per cent to 8.73m units, assisted by September's Nano launch. Analysts had expected between 7.7m and nine million units, but Apple said actual numbers were higher than it had anticipated.

With Microsoft's Zune looming, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said he is "very confident in the new [iPod] line up, despite increased competition this holiday season".

Oppenheimer and fellow execs were otherwise impervious to questions on the potential threat to iTunes' video download business from Google's YouTube acquisition, and various content providers' deals with YouTube. iTunes will add more movie titles in time, he replied.

Preliminary results saw net income increase 26.9 per cent to $546m on revenue up 31.5 per cent to $4.84bn. Earnings per diluted share were up 12 cents to $0.62. Results are preliminary, as Apple is working out how much it needs to re-state earnings after it was found certain stock option grants had been backdated between 1997 and 2002. Analysts had expected $0.51 EPS and $4.67bn revenue for the quarter. ®

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