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Apple’s Biggest Quarter Ever: 37M iPhones, 15M iPads, $46B in Revenue

Apple posts $46 billion in revenue, smashing its previous record of $30 billion, during iPhone 4S launch period

Apple posted its biggest quarter in history to start 2012, netting $46 billion in total revenue thanks to record-setting iPhone sales and the holiday period. 

The company had never crossed $30 billion in revenue before, and this figure even smashed analysts estimates of $38.9 billion by 19 percent.

"Apple’s momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline,” CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

All told, Apple registered a quarterly profit of $13.06 billion in its first fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31. Earnings per share of $13.87 cruised past estimates, which had pegged the company at $10.10.

Analysts expected the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to report big numbers, especially after a disappointing fourth fiscal quarter.

Also read: Apple Misses 4Q Earnings Targets, Blames iPhone 5 'Rumors' (Updated)

But even this caught people off guard, with many tech reporters immediately weighing in with their astonishment.

GigaOm's Matthew Ingram dubbed the $46 billion figure "mind-boggling" while TechCrunch's MG Siegler opted for "Holy shit."

Apple's fourth fiscal quarter did not include iPhone 4S sales, which launched in October. That debut, combined with the holiday period, led to some astonishing sales figures.

The company sold 37.04 million iPhones, a new record and more than double what it sold in the last quarter. iPhones and its accessories accounted for $24.4 billion in revenue. That's more than double Google's entire revenue.

Also read: iPhone Juggernaut: Apple May Sell 125M in 2012, Siri Gobbles Up Data

Cook attributed the figure to "breathtaking customer reception" of the iPhone 4S and said sales were particularly strong in the United States and Japan. Cook, conducting his second earnings call as CEO since taking over for the late Steve Jobs, also credited delayed purchases due to media speculation surrounding an iPhone 5 in the last quarter.

The company also unloaded 15.43 million iPads and 5.2 million Mac computers — both records as well.

One analyst on the call wanted to know how Apple felt about its new competitors in the tablet market offering the devices for lower prices (say, Amazon). Cook didn't take the bait.

"There will come a day when the tablet market is larger than the market for PCs," Cook said. And when that comes, Apple "can continue to compete with anyone that is currently shipping tablets or that might in the future."

Other analysts wanted to find out more about Apple's stack of cash, which now sits at almost $100 billion. Again, Cook declined to go into specifics, but he did say the company was having discussions about it.

Given the holiday bump to its Q1 numbers, Apple's guidance for Q2 projects lower figures but revenue will remain above $30 billion if the company is on point. It projects revenue of $32.5 billion and earnings per share of $8.50.