Apple Bears Fruit

Isn't it really just a matter of time before Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) renames itself Apple Entertainment? Earlier this week, it announced that it had sold 100 million musical downloads. Last night, it posted another robust quarter, with earnings more than tripling to $0.16 a share as iPod sales threaten to lap the company's flagship computers in unit volume.

In sum, this should be music to investing ears. This isn't to say that Apple is fading in the desktop space. Macintosh sales actually grew by 19% during the June quarter. However, one has to wonder how far this revival would have gotten if it weren't for the company's melodic endeavors.

Apple moved 876,000 Macintosh units and 860,000 iPods. On a dollar basis, sure, the Macs trump the cheaper music players by a wide margin. The iPods contributed a thin $249 million slice of the revenue pie. However, you have to attribute some of those Mac sales to Apple getting its brand name into the eyes -- and ears -- of the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) masses. That is clearly the tasty fruit of its musical harvest.

The company saw revenue soar by 30% to hit $2 billion during its fiscal third quarter -- its best showing in eight years for the June period -- but the company seems to be making as many headlines in the music world as it is in computing circles. It is succeeding where such major labels as Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) and Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) failed in monetizing their content libraries. With the popularity of the iTunes Store drawing consumers to its portable iPod players, pitching its hip personal computers has been an easier sell.

Instead of surrendering market share to Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) the way it has over the past few years, Apple is fighting back -- with the battle hymn of personality to back it up.

Apple expects the good times to continue, closing out its fiscal year in September by earning between $0.16 and $0.17 a share on $2.1 billion in revenue in its final quarter. So go ahead and let Apple whistle while it works. That's a catchy tune if I ever heard one.

Do you really think that music sales are helping drive Apple's computer sales higher? Were you surprised to see gross margins improve? All this and more -- in the Apple discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz really does think that Apple will save the music industry. He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.


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