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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
Apple profits soar on iPod demand
iPod Nano music player on sale in the US
The iPod Nano has been well received
Global demand for the iPod music player and other Apple products helped the technology firm boost profits by 27% to $546m (292m) in the fourth quarter.

Apple Computer shipped more than eight and half million iPods for sale during the period, up 35% on a year ago.

It also saw the popularity of its computers soar - with sales of its desktop and laptop models hitting 1.6 million, a 30% rise on a year ago.

Chief executive Steve Jobs hailed a year of "extraordinary" progress.

'Exciting products'

Apple's international sales now account for 40% of its turnover.

The firm has sold more than 39 million digital music players and more than five million computers over the past year.

Total sales in three months to the end of September rose to $4.84bn from $3.68bn for the same period last year.

Apple said it expected sales to shoot up to between $6bn and $6.2bn in the first quarter of next year.

"Looking forward, 2007 is likely to be one of the most exciting new product years in Apple's history," Mr Jobs added.

While the iPod has been Apple's biggest success story, the progress it is making with computer sales has not gone unnoticed.

In January, it began using Intel microprocessors in its machines, as it tried to get a bigger slice of the PC market.

It said that more than half of the 323,000 computers sold in Apple's retail stores during the third quarter of 2006 were to customers who had never owned a Mac before.

"We were thrilled by that," said Apple's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer.

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