Apple’s $46 billion sales set new tech record

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Ask Siri how Apple recorded the best quarter in history for a tech company, and her answer should be: “Me.”

Apple sold a stunning 37 million iPhones last quarter, twice what it sold in the same period a year ago. IPad sales doubled to a record 15.4 million. Apple moved 5.2 million Macs, the first time Apple sold more than 5 million of its PCs in a quarter. The company also sold 15.4 million iPods during the holiday quarter, which ended Dec. 31.

Apple’s stellar quarter generated sales of $46.3 billion, a tech industry record. That’s up 73% from a year ago, and it easily topped Wall Street analysts’ $38.9 billion median forecast, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Apple had $127.8 billion in sales during the 2011 calendar year, putting it neck-and-neck with Hewlett-Packard (HPQFortune 500), the nation’s largest tech company. This year, Apple is on pace to become the biggest technology company in the world, measured by revenue, outpacing current global No. 1 Samsung.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said its fiscal first quarter profit rose to $13 billion, or $13.87 per share, more than double the profit Apple booked a year earlier.

It was one of the most profitable quarters ever for any U.S. company, trailing only ExxonMobil’s (XOMFortune 500) record-setting $14.8 billion quarter from the fall of 2008, when oil prices were at an all-time high.

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