Apple has posted a spike in fourth-quarter earnings and predicted record sales during the golden quarter, despite whispers of sluggish demand for new iPhones.

The technology titan said profits jumped 18.9% to $10.7bn (£8.2bn) in the three months to the end of September, driven by 46.7 million iPhone sales – more than 500,000 a day.

Total sales advanced 12.1% to $52.6bn (£40.3bn) year-on-year.

Apple predicted it would rake in revenues between $84bn and $87bn (£64.3bn-£66.6bn) in the first quarter of its new financial year – the three months to December 31 – which is usually its strongest trading period.

Analysts had expected a forecast of $84.2bn (£64.5bn).

The confident outlook quashed market speculation of sluggish demand for the iPhone 8 and production problems surrounding its new iPhone X, which is released today.

The new hotly-anticipated model features a facial recognition system and a high definition edge-to-edge screen.

Sales of iPhones, which drive around two thirds of Apple’s revenue, will be central to Apple’s Christmas success, along with other big sellers including iPads and Mac computers.

Shares in the US behemoth rose 3.5% to a new high of $174 (£133.20) in after-hours trading in New York, edging the business towards a $900bn (£689bn) market cap – giving it a value almost 50 times that of Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco.