FORTUNE -- The numbers are in, and they're surprisingly good. Stronger than expected iPhone sales seem to have boosted both the gross margin and the bottom line. iPad sales were a little weak, due largely to channel inventory changes. Mac sales were up and the iPod business, as expected, has pretty much collapsed. Apple press release.
In a separate press release, the company announced a 7 for 1 stock split, effective June 2, something that doesn't change the math but which should make the stock affordable for more investors. The board of directors also increased its share repurchase authorization to $90 billion (from $60 billion) and declared a dividend of $3.29 per common share, an increase of about 8%, payable on May 15.
"We're very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services," said Tim Cook. "We're eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market."
"We generated $13.5 billion in cash flow from operations and returned almost $21 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the March quarter," said outgoing CFO Peter Oppenheimer. "That brings cumulative payments under our capital return program to $66 billion."
Apple's (AAPL) share closed Wednesday at $524.75. They popped more than $40 in after hours trading.
A conference call with analysts is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. ET, 3:00 p.m. PT. Click here: Listen to the Webcast.
Below: the average estimates of 41 analysts in Fortune's poll.
Sales: $43.78 billion
iPhones: 38.25 million units
iPads: 19.35 million
Macs: 4.09 million
iPods: 3.06 million
iTunes, software and services: $4.56 billion
Accessories: $1.40 billion
Gross margin: 37.8%
Below: Notes from the conference call.
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Global PC sales may be in free fall, but most analysts expect the Mac's to be up a bit
FORTUNE -- For a company like Apple (AAPL) that is supposed to be a growth stock, the flattening bar graph at right might seem like a disappointment -- unless you consider the alternative, represented by the chart at left.
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The tweets that launched a score of news stories may have been premature
FORTUNE -- The Street's Rocco Pendola was tearing his shoulder-length locks Wednesday morning in a piece titled I'm Worried About Apple. Again. And You Should Be, Too. The thrust of his story: Tim Cook is diluting the precious Apple (AAPL) brand by allowing its products to be sold by retailers associated with, in his word, "mediocrity."
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The programming platform Oracle inherited from Sun continues to plague Apple
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Lowered expectations after Tim Cook's Tuesday bombshell
FORTUNE -- On Monday, Wall Street's consensus for Apple's (AAPL) fourth quarter report -- scheduled to be released today after the markets close -- was for earnings of $8.85 on sales of $36.32 billion.
By Thursday, according to Thomson Financial, those numbers had dropped to $8.75 and $35.8 billion. And among some of the analysts who revised their estimates this week, expectations were even lower.
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A scientific explanation of Apple users' unique grief a year after his death.
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