Apple Inc. said yesterday that its net income for the holiday quarter jumped 78 percent as shoppers snapped up more iPads than analysts predicted.
People also bought iPhones as fast as Apple could make them. The strong results were enough to make investors forget, for the moment, the news that CEO Steve Jobs is taking another medical leave of absence.
Shares climbed in after-hours trading. Earlier, the stock slipped more than 2 percent in regular trading as Wall Street grappled with Jobs’ hiatus. Jobs had surgery in 2004 that he said cured him of a rare form of pancreatic cancer.
In 2009 he had a liver transplant during a half-year medical leave; this time, Apple has not said how long it expects Jobs to be absent.
Net income for Apple’s fiscal first quarter rose to $6 billion, or $6.43 per share, up from $3.4 billion, or $3.67 per share, in the same period a year earlier.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast $5.41 per share for the quarter, which ended Dec. 25.
Revenue climbed 71 percent to $26.7 billion, more than the $24.3 billion analysts expected. It was $15.7 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.
Apple’s newest product, the iPad tablet computer, went on sale in April and was one of the hottest gifts over the holidays. Apple sold 7.3 million of the touch-screen, keyboardless gadgets, which people use to surf the Web, check e-mail, watch movies, play games and, increasingly, get real work done.
That’s about a million more than analysts were expecting.