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Holidays boosted Apple to best quarter ever

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Inc. reported Monday that it rocketed to its most profitable quarter ever over the holidays.

The iPhone's rollout in several major new markets, including China and South Korea, helped fuel the company's results.

Apple said it earned $3.4 billion, or $3.67 per share, in the latest quarter, which ended Dec. 26.

In the same period of 2008 it earned $2.3 billion, or $2.50 per share. Revenue was $15.7 billion, a 32 percent jump from $11.9 billion a year ago.

Separately, Apple won't reveal the details of what is widely expected to be a new tablet computer until Wednesday.

But it has already shaken up the publishing world, whose executives wonder whether the device will revolutionize the distribution of newspapers, magazines and books in the same way that the iPod transformed the music industry.

Pundits and analysts have guessed the gadget will feature a 10-inch touch-screen color display that's designed for reading, watching video, browsing the Web and playing games.

How the device connects to the Internet remains a question, but analysts believe it will sell for as much as $1,000 and reach stores in March.

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