updated 7/21/2009 7:27:24 PM ET 2009-07-21T23:27:24

Apple Inc., the closest thing the tech industry has to a luxury brand, said Tuesday its profit jumped 15 percent in the most recent quarter despite the recession.

The company said earnings in its fiscal third quarter, which ended June 27, rose to $1.23 billion, or $1.35 per share. Apple’s profit was $1.07 billion, or $1.19 per share, in the same period last year. Sales increased 12 percent to $8.34 billion.

Apple beat Wall Street’s forecast on both counts. Analysts were expecting Apple to earn $1.17 per share on $8.20 billion in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

“In a better economy I think we would have sold even more,” Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said in an interview.

Apple says iPhone unit sales increased more than sevenfold to 5.2 million, thanks to a newly released version of the device. And the company sold 4 percent more Mac computers than in the same period last year.

Apple sold 7 percent fewer iPods, though.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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