Since the death of Steve Jobs, the giant U.S.-based technology company Apple has hit new sales and profit records on surging demand for its iPhones and iPads.
Apple says it had $13 billion in profits on $46 billion in sales during the last three months of 2011, one of the most profitable quarters ever for an American company. Apple's profit exceeded the total revenue for the quarter of the popular Internet search firm Google.
Apple and the international energy conglomerate Exxon Mobil have been vying to be the largest American company based on their respective stock market values.
Apple's October-to-December sales pushed it past another American company, Hewlett-Packard, as the world's biggest computer maker. It was Apple's first financial reporting period since the death of the firm's founder, the much-revered Steve Jobs. Analysts said the profits showed that the company has not faltered under the leadership of its new chief executive, Tim Cook.
Apple sold 37 million iPhones during the fourth quarter, including the firm's latest smart phone model, the iPhone 4S. The company has now sold 183 million of the smart phones since its first model was introduced in 2007.
In addition, Apple says it sold more than 15 million of its iPad tablet computers in the last three months of 2011, also a company record and more than twice as many as in the same quarter the year before.