Apple’s profits jump 31 per cent

Record sales of the Mac have helped to send Apple's earnings soaring in the third quarter.

Apple shipped nearly 2.5 million Macs in its third quarter ending 28 June, an increase of 41 per cent on the same period last year, with profits jumping 31 per cent to $1.7 billion.

Laptop sales, including those of the MacBook Air, were also strong with the company posting growth of 37 per cent on last year.

Despite the looming presence of the iPhone, the iPod continued to do well for the Apple with sales rising by 12 per cent to more than 11 million, although revenue was up just seven per cent on the back of some significant price cuts to the shuffle.

While third quarter sales of the iPhone topped 717,000, Apple says the figures do not include revenue for most of these phones: "Because we announced the iPhone 2 software and its many new features on 6 March but did not make it available until this month, we did not begin recognising handset revenue for any iPhone sold on or after 6 March until we made the iPhone 2 software available," said Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer.

The figures also do not include sales of the 3G iPhone, which was released after the third quarter.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said the last quarter was "the best June quarter for both revenue and earnings in Apple's history".

"We set a new record for Mac sales, we think we have a real winner with our new iPhone 3G and we're busy finishing several more wonderful new products."

Despite this, the company says it remains cautious about the quarter to come, with Oppenheimer claiming margins were likely to be hit by a "future product transition which I can't discuss today."

The prediction saw stock prices fall 11 per cent during after hours trading.