Apple reported extremely strong earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter Monday, fueled by surging iPhone sales.

Apple posted earnings of $1.43 per share for the fiscal fourth quarter (ending September 14) on revenues of $42.1 billion. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had expected Apple to post earnings of $1.31 per share for the quarter on revenues of $39.85 billion. Apple brought in $37.47 billion in the same quarter last year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on the earnings call that the numbers represent the strongest revenue growth rate in seven quarters for the company. He added that its earnings per share grew 20 percent over the same quarter last year.

Most investors are watching Apple’s phone sales closely for strong revenues and market-share gains. Last year, Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones in the fiscal fourth quarter.

A real iPhone 6

Above: All eyes were on iPhone sales during the fourth quarter, and the devices were moving quickly — even in advance of the iPhone 6 announcement late in the quarter.

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

Analysts had projected that Apple would sell 37 million iPhones, but the company bested expectations by selling 39 million. Before today, Apple had said only that it has sold 10 million of its new iPhone 6s during opening weekend (the new phones went on sale September 19).

If there was a disappointment today, it’s that iPad sales were well down in the quarter at 12.3 million, compared to sales of 14.1 million in the same quarter last year. Apple says it reduced its iPad channel inventory at the end of June in anticipation of the new iPads, which were announced last Thursday.

The company says its gross margin was 38 percent compared to 37 percent in the the same quarter last year and that international sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

In terms of new products, the fiscal fourth quarter was huge for Apple, and the reviews from analysts were mostly good. Aside from the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple announced a new smartwatch, Apple Watch, and last Thursday launched an ultra-thin iPad Air 2, Retina-screened iMacs, the iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite, and more.

Apple has indeed been on a roll during the past year, as analysts react to the company’s ability to release compelling new products in the post-Jobs era. The company’s stock has increased in value by more than 34 percent in the past 12 months and by about 22 percent since the start of 2014.

Apple stock closed at $99.86 per share Monday. In after hours trading the stock is not bouncing much at all, at $100.12, up just 0.36 percent.

Apple's stock price rose sharply in April and has performed well ever since. The upward trend seems to follow the level of anticipation and hype before Apple announced new products like the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

Above: Apple’s stock price rose sharply in April and has performed well ever since. The upward trend seems to follow the level of anticipation and hype before Apple began announcing new products and upgrades to old ones over the summer and fall.

Apple is forecasting revenue between $63.5 billion and $66.5 billion next quarter and gross margins between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent.

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