SAN FRANCISCO: Apple's profits more than doubled in the latest quarter to $7.31 billion, driven by strong sales in emerging markets and the breakout success of the iPad.

Annual sales of products in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong grew nearly six-fold, while the iPhone also showed robust growth with sales more than double the same quarter last year, rising to 20.34 million worldwide. 

iPhone sales particularly profited from consumers in fast-growth markets such as Brazil, China and the Middle East.

Increased take up by businesses of both the iPhone and the iPad also helped to boost sales.  According to Apple, 86% of Fortune 500 companies were currently either testing or using the iPad in their offices.

Increased production and clearing the backlog of orders following the introduction of the iPad 2 in March meant that overall sales of the tablet PC almost tripled to 9.25 million worldwide.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, told reporters that "sales of iPad2 have absolutely been a frenzy".

"We sold every iPad 2 in the quarter that we could make," he added. "Certainly there was no shortage of demand."

Elsewhere, Apple noted a continued decline in iPod sales, which were down 20% at 7.54 million. But Apple computer sales registered healthy growth rates of 14% to reach 3.95 million in the third quarter.

This compares favourably with Market Research Company Gartner's prediction for just 2.3% growth across the sector as a whole.  

Apple is expected to maintain its dominance of the tablet PC market, with eMarketer predicting that the company will take a market share of 78% in 2011.

Data sourced from The New York Times/Apple; additional content by Warc staff