It was iPod fever that ignited explosive fiscal first-quarter sales and profit at Apple Computer, with revenue climbing 74 percent and earnings more than quadrupling.
Sales for the three months, ended Dec. 25, soared to $3.5 billion, up from a year-ago $2 billion, while net income climbed to $295 million, compared with $63 million in the same period in 2003.
Apple reported gross margin of 28.5 percent in the first quarter, compared with 26.7 percent year-on-year, while international sales accounted for 41 percent of the three month's revenue.
Unit growth of Apple's wildly successful iPod digital music players increased 525 percent in the first quarter, rising to 4.6 million, up from a year-earlier 733,000. In the past three years, the company said it has sold about 10 million iPods. Quarterly revenue for iPods rose to $1.2 billion, an increase of 373 percent over the $256 million recorded a year ago.
Apple shipped more than 1 million Macintosh computers in the first quarter, a 26 percent gain over the 829,000 units shipped in the same three months last year, and the highest quarterly number of Macs sold in more than four years. Macintosh revenue also increased 26 percent, reaching $1.6 billion, up from a year-earlier $1.3 billion.