Apple Posts Earnings Ahead Of Mysterious Unveiling

Holiday sales led Apple to its most profitable quarter ever. The new earnings statement was issued in advance of Apple's big announcement expected on Wednesday, and is rumored to be a tablet computer. While tablet computers are a small fraction of computer sales, many companies are selling or plan to sell tablets in the near future.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Apple says its earnings are in a better place. The company just announced it had its most profitable quarter ever, thanks to good Christmas sales. This follows an entire year of beating Wall Street expectations.

NPR's Laura Sydell has more.

LAURA SYDELL: Apple sold more than $8.7 million iPhones last quarter. But Wall Street was hoping for more than $9 million. Many analysts believe that their predictions might've been a little bit overly enthusiastic about iPhones. But Apple did beat some Wall Street sales predictions.

(Soundbite of Mac boot-up sound)

SYDELL: More people were turning on new Mac computers.

Sales were up 33 percent over a year ago to more than $3.3 million. Overall, its been a good year for the company. Its stock process more than doubled in the last 12 months. Apple did recently make some changes in its accounting methods, so there is some confusion about Apple's exact profits, but its stock did go up in after hours trading.

The good news for Apple comes as everyone awaits a big announcement on Wednesday from the company. Analysts believe that Apple will enter the tablet PC market. Apple may also have other product announcements, such as updated iPods and iPhones that could ultimately drive sales in the coming year.

Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

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