Apple makes corporate history with record breaking $18bn profit

Apple has posted a record-breaking set of quarterly results, with sales of the iPhone 6 growing well ahead of expectations.

The technology giant said that sales rose 29.5 per cent in the final three months of 2014 to $74.6bn (£48bn), easily beating Wall Street predictions that sales would reach $67.7bn, reports The Telegraph.

Tim Cook, chief executive, also confirmed that the highly-anticipated Apple Watch will go on sale from April, slightly later than the expected March launch date.

The surge in sales drove the company’s net income up from $13.1bn to $18bn in the quarter, the biggest ever quarterly profit reported by a company.

Shares in Apple grew by more than 7 per cent in after-hours trading on the back of the figures.

Apple said it sold a record 74.5m iPhones during the period – the equivalent of 34,000 per hour – significantly ahead of forecasts that it would sell 65m.

Mr Cook said it had been an “incredible quarter”. He stated: “We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high.

“Our revenue grew 30 per cent over last year to $, and the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”

However, Luca Maestri, the chief financial officer, said that iPhone sales in China did not overtake those in the US, despite predictions by analysts that they would.

Nonetheless, a rapid increase in demand for the iPhone drove sales in China up 70 per cent year-on-year in the quarter.

Sales of the Apple Mac and from the App Store also hit record levels. Apple said that 65 per cent of its revenues are now from outside the US. However, iPad sales were below expectations, hitting 21.4m, compared to estimates of 22.1m. Overall, Apple has now sold more than 1bn products that use its operating system iOS.

Analysts at City Index said: “After a gloomy day on Wall Street on pessimistic earnings and economic data, Apple’s first quarter earnings, were a breath of fresh air.”

The company published its results on the day that shares in rival Microsoft slumped by almost 10 per cent.

Image: Apple via Shutterstock