Apple reveals record Christmas trading

CONSUMER gadgets giant Apple has reported record sales and profits for its Christmas quarter after demand for iPads and iPhones topped expectations.

Net income in the three months to December 25 rose 78 per cent to $6bn (3.75 billion) and revenues climbed 71 per cent to $26.7bn (16.7 billion) as Apple's newest product, the iPad tablet computer, became one of the hottest gifts over the festive period.

Apple said it sold 7.3 million of the touch-screen, keyboard-less gadgets - about a million more than Wall Street analysts had been expecting.

The company also sold 16.2 million iPhones, or 86 per cent more of the smartphones than a year ago.

Apple's shares climbed in after-hours trading in New York last night, having slipped more than 2 per cent in regular trading following news that chief executive Steve Jobs is taking a further medical leave of absence.

Despite the success of the iPad, which went on sale in April, Apple said it sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter, a 23 per cent rise on a year ago.

It also sold 19.5 million iPods, a drop of 7 per cent on a year earlier but this was offset by an increase in the average amount that people spent on the music devices.

Apple also highlighted its growth in the Asia Pacific region as revenues from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan totalled $2.6bn (1.6 billion), about 10 per cent of its total revenues and four-times the level a year ago.