Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2008 first quarter ended December 29, 2007. The Company posted revenue of $9.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.58 billion, or $1.76 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $1 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 34.7 percent, up from 31.2 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 45 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

MacDailyNews Note: Prior to Apple’s earnings release, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had estimated that Apple would earn revenue of $9.47 billion and $1.62 per share.

Apple shipped 2,319,000 Macintosh computers, representing 44 percent unit growth and 47 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 22,121,000 iPods during the quarter, representing five percent unit growth and 17 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone sales were 2,315,000.

“We’re thrilled to report our best quarter ever, with the highest revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in the press release. “We have an incredibly strong new product pipeline for 2008, starting with MacBook Air, Mac Pro and iTunes Movie Rentals in the first two weeks.”

“Apple’s revenue grew 35 percent year-over-year to $9.6 billion, an increase of almost $2.5 billion over the previous December quarter’s record-breaking results,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, in the press release. “Our strong results produced cash flow from operations of over $2.7 billion during the quarter, yielding an ending cash balance of over $18.4 billion. Looking ahead to the second quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect revenue of about $6.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $0.94.”

MacDailyNews Note: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are looking for Apple to report Q2 08 revenue of $6.99 billion and earnings per share of $1.09. Historically, Apple’s guidance is notoriously conservative.

Apple will provide live streaming of its Q1 2008 financial results conference call utilizing QuickTime, Apple’s standards-based technology for live and on-demand audio and video streaming. The live webcast will begin at 2:00 p.m. PST on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq108/ and will also be available for replay.

MacDailyNews Note: On October 22, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer provided guidance for first quarter of fiscal 2008, “We expect revenue of about $9.2 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $1.42.”