Apple Computer Inc., the maker of iMac computers and iPod digital music players, said third-quarter profit more than tripled as surging sales of iPods drove revenue for the period to an eight-year high.
Net income rose to $61 million (16 cents a share), from $19 million (5 cents) in the same quarter a year earlier, the Cupertino, Calif., company said in a statement. Sales rose 30 percent, to $2.01 billion. Profit and revenue may beat analyst estimates this quarter, Apple said.
IPod shipments rose threefold. Demand has been "staggering" for the mini version of the iPod, which Apple will start selling in Europe this month, said Timothy D. Cook, Apple's vice president for worldwide sales. Chief executive Steve Jobs is stoking demand for Apple computers by popularizing the iPod product, executives said.
Apple shares rose $1.95 cents, to $31.53, in extended trading. They earlier gained 36 cents, to $29.58, in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading and have risen 38 percent this year.
Apple said it shipped 860,000 iPods in the quarter, a threefold increase from a year ago. Revenue more than doubled to $249 million from $111 million a year ago. Apple will begin selling the iPod mini outside the United States on July 24. Demand has been "unprecedented," Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said. "The mini demand far exceeds the supply," Cook said.
The iPod, which holds as many as 10,000 songs, sells for $299 to $499, and the mini, which comes in five colors and holds 1,000 songs, costs $249. Apple has developed a device with automaker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG that will allow users to play songs from their iPod through some car radios.
The iPod is helping persuade customers to buy Macintosh computers, particularly students entering universities, Oppenheimer told analysts on a conference call.
The company shipped 876,000 Macintosh units, up 14 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose 15 percent, to $1.26 billion from $1.09 billion a year earlier.
Apple this month said it will be two months late in introducing a newer version of the iMac desktop computer. Apple has stopped taking orders for the current version and said it expects to run out of iMacs this month.
International Business Machines Corp. is having problems making Apple's processors, causing delays for the iMacs and the Power Mac line of computers for businesses, Oppenheimer said. Fourth-quarter results might change if the problems aren't resolved, he said.
"We are extremely unhappy with these events," Oppenheimer said. "We believe IBM has placed enormous resources to resolve this situation."
If the iMac is delayed beyond September, that may mean a "big hit" to Apple's fourth-quarter sales, said Ken Smith, who helps manage $35.5 billion at Munder Capital Management in Birmingham, Mich. The firm owned 512,841 Apple shares as of March. The iMac generated 13 percent of revenue in the second quarter.
Jobs introduced the iMac six years ago, and demand began to wane last year. IMac sales had dropped in five straight quarters, sinking 17 percent, to $252 million, in Apple's second quarter.
Gross profit margin, or the percentage of sales left after production costs, was 27.8 percent, narrower than the 28 percent Apple had forecast. Apple in last year's third quarter reported a gross margin of 27.7 percent.