What happened

Shares of technology giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) surged as much as 6.5% on Wednesday. The move follows Apple's third-quarter earnings release after market close on Tuesday. Shares are up 5.3% at the time of this writing.

So what

Apple's fiscal third quarter featured stronger-than-expected revenue and earnings per share. Revenue and EPS rose 7% and 17%, respectively, to $45.4 billion and $1.67. On average, analysts expected revenue of $44.9 billion and EPS of $1.57. 

Apple Store, Upper West Side New York City

Image source: Apple.

Similarly, Apple's guidance for its fourth quarter was higher than expected. Apple guided for fourth-quarter revenue to be between $49 billion and $52 billion. Before this guidance, the consensus analyst estimate for Apple's fourth-quarter revenue was $49.2 billion.

Importantly, the quarter was the third consecutive period of accelerating year-over-year revenue growth rates for Apple. This streak follows a period of three quarters in a row last year in which revenue declined on a year-over-year basis.

Now what

Apple's revenue guidance for its fourth quarter not only suggests that management expects another quarter of accelerating year-over-year revenue growth rates, but it also helps mitigate concern surrounding recent rumors of a possible delay in the upcoming iPhone refresh. Guidance for fourth-quarter revenue growth of 7.7% year over year (based on the midpoint of Apple's guidance range) means management likely anticipates an iPhone launch to have a positive impact.

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.