Here are some take-aways from Apple's (AAPL) much-anticipated earnings reports for the holiday season:

Record sales, but just barely: Apple earned $13.81 a share on $54.5 billion in revenue, while analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected $13.47 a share on $54.7 billion.

Dodged a bullet: After falling short of analysts' estimates the past two quarters, Apple reported profit of $13.1 billion, just a tad higher than the $13.06 billion a year earlier.

IPhone is key to Apple's fortunes: It sold a record 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to 37 million in the year-ago quarter, but analysts were looking for sales closer to 50 million.

Cash is king: Apple's now sitting on $137.1 billion, up from $121 billion a year ago, and it declared a per-share cash dividend of $2.65 to spread some of it around.

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689 or follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc



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