Apple blowout: Sales of $39.2 billion on 35 million iPhones

April 24, 2012: 5:04 PM ET

Having fallen nearly 13% since April 10, the stock popped 7.44% on the news

FORTUNE -- After losing more than $70 billion in market value in two weeks, Apple (AAPL) capped one of the strangest earnings walkups in memory by handily beating all but the most optimistic estimates, reporting record March quarter earnings of $12.30 per share on sales of $39.2 billion.

Shares reversed course as soon as the news broke, climbing more than $41 (7.44%) in after hours trading. At the closing bell Apple had been trading for $560.28, down $11.42 (an even 2.00%) for the day and almost 13% below its April 10 intraday high of $644.

The biggest surprise, as far as the Street was concerned, was the iPhone unit sales number. After Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) reported iPhone activations down more than 4.3 million, analysts spent much of Tuesday predicting that the company would miss its targets -- forgetting, apparently, that most iPhone sales take place overseas. iPhone sales in Asia were  up five-fold year over year, according to CFO Peter Oppenheimer.

"We're thrilled with sales of over 35 million iPhones and almost 12 million iPads in the March quarter," said Tim Cook, highlighting the two products that are driving Apple's money-making machine.

The numbers:

Sales: $39.19 billion, up 58.9% year over year
EPS: $12.3, up 92.2%
iPhone:  35.1 million units, up 88%
iPad: 11.8 million units, up 151%
Mac: 4 million units, up 6.8% compared with 2% for the broader PC industry
Asian Mac sales: up 58%
iPod: 7.7 million units, down 14.6%
Gross margin
: 47.4%, up from 44.7% last quarter
Revenue guidance: $34 billion
EPS guidance: $8.68
Gross margin guidance: 41.5%
Cash and marketable securities: $110 billion, up $12.5 billion from Q1

More after the earnings call. You can monitor the webcast here. You can read the press release here.

A few quotes:

Peter Oppenheimer: "I have to tell you that the new iPad is on fire."

Tim Cook: "This is the 24th quarter in a row we've outgrown the [PC] market."

Cook: "Anything can be forced to converge, but products are about tradeoffs. You can converge a toaster and refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user."

Cook: "We believe iPhone is the best phone on the planet to entice a customer using a traditional cell phone."

Cook: "We had the mother of all Januarys."

Cook: "We are selling them [the new iPads] as fast as we can make them."

Cook: "I always hated litigation. We just want people to invent their own stuff. I would highly prefer to settle than to battle."

Cook: "It's very important that Apple not become the developer to the world."

That's a wrap. Will post the results of our Earnings Smackdown first thing Wednesday.

UPDATE: Earnings Smackdown results posted here.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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