Apple Computer exceeded the most optimistic expectations of investors and analysts in its fiscal first quarter ended December 25, posting a year-on-year sales increase of 74%.

Net income more than quadrupled to $295 million (€222.12m; £155.8m), up from $63m in the same period last year. At 70 cents, the company's per-share earnings were way ahead of the 42 cents it had forecast.

Sales soared to $3.49 billion compared with $2.01bn a year earlier, with iPod revenues leaping from $256m in Q1 2003 to $1.21bn - dwarfing a perfectly respectable increase in revenues by Apple Mac computer systems to $1.61bn, up from $1.27bn.

Opined one happy investor, Mike Sansoterra, a technology analyst with Principle Global Investors: "It's a staggering set of numbers."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff