By Jonathan Davies

Apple has reported the biggest quarterly profits ever made by a public company after huge iPhone sales.

The US tech giant posted profits of $18bn (£12bn) for the final three months of 2014, the first quarter of its financial year. It dwarfs the $15.9bn profits posted by ExxonMobil in the second quarter of 2012.

The figures equate to every single person on the planet - man, woman and child - spending $10 with Apple in the three months.

Record iPhone sales were behind the mammoth profits. Apple sold 74.5 million in the three months to 27 December.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook described the figures as "staggering" and even said that a strong US dollar shaved 4% off its $74.6bn revenues.

The company made a huge dent in the Chinese market, a market many experts believed Apple couldn't be successful in. But the iPhone is now the biggest selling smartphone in China after $16bn sales in the quarter, up 70% from last year. iPhone sales in China are now bigger that Apple's US sales.

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