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Mac shipments set an Apple record

Strong Mac sales lift Apple above Wall Street's expectations for its third quarter, and the company follows its usual practice of guiding well below analyst forecasts.

Updated 2pm PT with more details from the release.

Apple reported record Mac sales and one of its best third quarters ever, but its usual conservative guidance should set off the usual Wall Street craziness.

For the company's third fiscal quarter, which ended June 28, Apple reported $7.46 billion in revenue and net profit of $1.07 billion, equal to $1.19 per share. That far exceeds the company's own guidance for the quarter and also handily beats Wall Street's expectations of $7.37 billion and $1.08 per share.

Mac sales were about in line with expectations, at 2.5 million units shipped during the quarter, and iPod shipments were actually a little higher than expected, at 11 million units. Mac shipments grew 41 percent, while iPod shipments grew 12 percent.

Surprising no one, however, Apple's guidance for the upcoming quarter was well below Wall Street forecasts. The company said to expect $7.8 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $1, while analysts were looking for $8.3 billion in revenue and $1.24 in earnings per share.

I'll update this post in a bit with some more numbers. Stay tuned for live coverage of the company's earnings conference call at 2 p.m. PT.

UPDATE - iPhone sales were 717,000 during the quarter, which was about what we had expected. iPhone sales were much lower due to the supply issues Apple ran into around the middle of May, but things have certainly picked up since then, with 1 million iPhone 3Gs out there already and lines and shortages awaiting those who want one now.