Apple last night reported that its profits surged 88% in the most recent quarter on thriving sales of iPod music players and Macintosh computers.

Profits in the quarter to the end of March amounted to $770m, or 87 cents per share,  compared with $410m, or 47 cents per share, in the same quarter in  2006.

Apple shipped 1.5 million Macintosh computers and 10.5 million iPods during the first three months of this year, which represented a 36% rise in computer sales and a 24% increase in iPod sales from the same period in 2006.

The company posted $5.26 billion in revenues for the quarter, with international sales  accounting for 43% of the total.

'The Mac is clearly gaining market share, with sales growing 36% - more than three times the industry growth rate,' said chief executive Steve Jobs, who added that Apple was 'very excited' about the upcoming launch of its iPhone in late June.

Before the release of the results, Apple's board of directors  voiced their support for Jobs after an embattled former employee implicated Jobs in a share option scandal.

On Tuesday, Apple's former chief financial officer Fred Anderson settled civil charges stemming from stock option backdating and said  he warned Jobs about potential accounting problems related to the executive awards.