Apple reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings on Monday after the closing bell, sending shares up 7 percent in after hours trading.

The Cupertino, California-based computing and electronics company posted a net profit of $1.67 billion, or $1.82 a share, in its fiscal fourth quarter ended September 26, up from $1.14 billion, or $1.26 a share, in the year-ago period.

Gross margin was 36.6 percent, up from 34.7 percent in the year-ago quarter.

“We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.”

In terms of product sales, Apple sold 3.05 million Mac computers during the quarter, 17 percent increase over the year-ago quarter.

iPod sales declined eight percent from a year-ago quarter to 10.2 million units sold.

Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the quarter up 7 percent.

International sales accounted for 46 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Its amazing, this is a now a $9 billion company. This is impressive, Piper Jaffray's analyst, Gene Munster said on CNBC after hearing the earnings results.

Apple shares were up 7.3 percent, or $13.86 to $203.72 in after hours trading.

Apple forecast earnings for the current quarter of $1.70 to $1.78 a share on revenue of $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion.

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