Sales of iPhones saw a 142-per-cent jump, despite the widely expected release of a newer model later in the year, which can deter current buyers.

Apple posted record quarterly revenue Tuesday, doubling its profit as the technology trailblazer sold 20.34 million iPhones and 9.25 million iPads.

The Silicon Valley company said it had sales of 28.57 billion dollars in the latest quarter, up 82 per cent from 15.7 billion dollars in sales from the year—ago period. Profits rose 125 per cent to 7.31 billion dollars, compared to 3.25 billion dollars a year earlier.

“We’re thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82 per cent and profits up 125 per cent,” Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said.

Investors greeted the achievement by sending the company’s shares up 6 per cent in after-hours trading, to 398 dollars, consolidating Apple’s status as the world’s most valuable technology company with a stock valuation of some 348 billion dollars. Apple is closing in on oil giant Exxon Mobile, which at 414 billion dollars is the only publicly traded company in the world in any sector with a higher market valuation.

Sales of iPhones saw a 142-per-cent jump, despite the widely expected release of a newer model later in the year, which can deter current buyers.

Sales of iPads soared 183 per cent, easily fending off a rash of competitors powered by Google, HP and RIM. The company sold 3.95 million Macs during the quarter, a 14-per-cent unit increase from a year earlier, to easily beat the 2-per-cent sales rise across the slowing PC industry.

Apple said that sales were especially strong in China where, 3.8 billion dollars in sales was six times larger than a year ago. Apple is reported to be in negotiations to sell the iPhone via China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier with 600 million subscribers.

“China was very key to our results,” Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook said in a conference call. “We’re just scratching the surface. There is an incredible opportunity for Apple there.” The stellar figures easily beat analysts’ consensus estimates for earnings of 5.84 billion dollars on sales of 25 billion dollars. It was the ninth straight quarter that Apple has outperformed expectations.

In April, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer predicted sales of 23 billion dollars. On Tuesday, he predicted fourth-quarter earnings of 25 billion dollars.

Release of the earnings figures coincided with a Wall Street Journal report that several Apple directors have been discussing plans for a successor to Jobs, the company’s iconic co-founder, who has been on indefinite medical level since January for an unspecified medical ailment. Mr. Cook has been running the company in his absence.

The report said that board members had spoken to several executive recruiters about a replacement for Jobs, 56, who underwent a liver transplant two years ago and was treated for a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004.

Despite his medical leave, Jobs has kept a high profile at recent Apple events, including his presentation last month of Apple’s iCloud network service, and is reported to frequently attend the office.