Last Updated Apr 20, 2010 5:41 PM EDT
Apple's stock soared in after-hours trading Tuesday afternoon to about $262 a share, an all-time high and about $17 above the closing price.
Sales of iPhones, which were watched especially closely by analysts, totaled 8.75 million, compared to forecasts of 7.5 million. The quarter ended before Apple had begun delivering its iPad tablet computer, so it did not figure in the report.
Apple posted strong numbers across product lines, including 2.94 million Mac computers, in line with expectations, and 10.98 million iPod music players, exceeding expectations for sales of 10 million units.
The initial reaction on Wall Street seemed to be astonishment. One analyst speaking on CNBC called Apple's earnings "a fairly stunning number, even for Apple." The company has a habit of providing estimates that it can easily beat.
Apple offered its first hint at what the current quarter may bring, estimating earnings for the three months through June of $2.28 to $2.39 a share on sales of $13 billion to $13.4 billion.
So far, so good, but the hype over Apple, like Apple's stock, continues to be overheated. Maria Bartiromo on CNBC observed after the earnings report that we are living in "Apple Nation."
Maybe, but some long-term question marks about Apple and how it will manage its growth, the subject of a recent post, may make Apple Nation a somewhat less prosperous place to be.