Apple Inc. posted quarterly sales trouncing Wall Street projections after locked-down customers bought new iPhones, Mac computers, and iPads to remain linked with families and friends throughout the duration of the global health crisis. In after-hours sessions, AAPL stock rose as much as 6.3 percent and settled at 384.76. 

The biggest technology group in the world, Apple has also announced a four-for-one stock split after its shares have risen by over 80 percent in the past year, stating that the new iPhones will arrive "within a few weeks" as planned.

Apple's fiscal third-quarter sales came in at $59.7 billion, marking a record for the period, the company disclosed in a statement. Based on figures collected by Bloomberg, this was up 11 percent from a year ago and shattered analysts' forecasts of $52.3 billion.

The impressive earnings scenario becomes all the more important because it comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world – a public health disaster that has caused massive job cuts and economic distress. And yet, despite the gloomy news, all of Apple's product inventory had double-digit growth.

Apple's fiscal third-quarter data, which included iPhone sales some $4 billion above market observers' estimates, came on the same day that U.S. GDP plunged 33 percent on an annualized rate in the second quarter, the nation's worst economic figure since the Great Depression.

Apple did not issue any guidance for the second quarter in a row, because of doubts from the coronavirus pandemic, but company chief financial officer Luca Maestri disclosed on a call with analysts that Apple expects iPhone inventory in the fall to be deferred for a few weeks.

Apple's Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.82 a share of the company's common shares. The dividend is payable on August 13 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 10, 2020. The stock split is the company's fifth in its history.

The Cupertino, California-headquartered tech giant previously split on a 7-1 basis in 2014, and on 2-1 basis in 2005, 2000, and 1987. The company posted $193.82 billion in total cash on hand, which is up from its fiscal second quarter.

Meanwhile, services including Apple Music, App Store, and iCloud subscriptions raked in sales of $13.2 billion, up from $11.5 billion and approximately in line with Wall Street estimates.