Apple’s Q3 2012: $35B In Revenue, Net Profit Of $8.8B, Earnings Of $9.32 Per Share

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Apple has just released its fiscal Q3 2012 earnings, and the Cupertino-based company reported revenues of $35 billion (compared to $28.6 billion in the year-ago quarter and $39.2 billion in Q2 2012) and quarterly net profit of $8.8 billion (compared to $7.3 billion in the year-ago quarter and $11.6B in Q2 2012). All that breaks down to earnings of $9.32 per diluted share.

During the days leading up to the disappointing release, analysts expected to see Apple rake in revenues of about $37.4 billion, with earnings of roughly $10.38 per share. Apple also reported gross margins of 42.8% (compared to the impressive 47.4% figure the company revealed last quarter) and noted that a full 62% of the quarter’s revenues were thanks to international sales.

Apple also announced that the company would be issuing a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of common stock.

For what it’s worth, Apple managed to blew past their own forecasted expectations ($34 billion in revenues, with earnings of at least $8.68/share). That’s not much of a surprise though, as Apple has historically tended to low-ball its quarterly performance estimates. To continue that tradition, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer offered up yet another conservative forecast at the end of the release — according to him, Apple expects Q4 revenues of about $34 billion “and diluted earnings per share of about $7.65.”

Apple’s hardware sales contributed quite a bit to its performance this quarter, though one device in particular was picking up most of the steam. As rumors of a heavily-redesigned iPhone continue to swirl and consumers settle in for the wait, analysts also predicted that the company would report lower iPhone sales figures. Again, not much of a shock since Apple’s newest iPhone has been on the market for nearly a year now, but the consensus among analysts was that Apple would sell about 29 million iPhones.

It turns out that the number was indeed down compared to Apple’s strong first and second quarters — the company only reported 26 million iPhones sold. That said, Apple managed to move plenty of iPads over the past three months thanks to the introduction of the Retina-friendly model prior to beginning of the quarter and the accompanying price drop for the iPad 2. Estimates pegged the Cupertino company as selling roughly 15.7 million iPads, but Apple reported an impressive 17 million iPads sold.

Perhaps due to some (warranted) trepidation ahead of the release, Apple’s stock closed at $600.92 today, down 0.48% from when the market opened this morning. As usual, Apple will be holding a conference call to discuss its financial performance at 2:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET. We’ll be live blogging the whole thing, so stay tuned for more as it happens.