If Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) third-quarter results are any proof, folks aren't too worried about the company's planned switch from IBM (NYSE:IBM) PowerPC chips to Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) processors. I can't say I blame them. I like Apple's products, and as a consumer, I pay a great deal of attention to the company. From what I've seen, heard, and read, the transition looks sound.

Of course, it also doesn't hurt that in the third quarter, Apple showed strong iPod, desktop, and laptop sales, as well as its best educational sales in almost a decade. I imagine Apple shareholders, a rather passionate bunch, are feeling pretty giddy today. It's a natural feeling when the company is firing on all cylinders -- and your shares have leapt 7% in a day.

I truly don't mean to rain on the parade, but there are a couple of items in the quarterly numbers that warrant a mention; while they're not problems now, they're trending the wrong way. Inventory grew to more than twice the increase in sales, and the company's cash-conversion cycle lengthened by just under a week. That said, Apple, like Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), still has a negative-cash conversion cycle; Apple sells its finished goods before they have to pay for the inputs, which is a beautiful thing.

As a Red Sox fan, I can relate to the blind passion people feel for Apple's products. Try as I might, though, I can't understand Apple shareholders' love for their investment. When I root for the Red Sox, I'm aware of the emotional investment I'm making, and I ride that emotional roller-coaster each season. But if my investment in the Red Sox were monetary, I'd feel differently. I would care deeply about how the team allocated its cash. As much as I love this team, I'm not independently wealthy, so I'd want a decent return on my money. I'd understand sinking money into an investment, but not so much on frivolous bonuses.

Apple has a history of giving away obscene amounts of money in compensation, and of management treating company money as their own. And please don't write to me about CEO Steve Jobs' $1 salary, because it's a red herring. Jobs has been compensated quite well with stock-appreciation rights a couple of years back and a $90 million jet Apple gave him five years ago. I'm not against people making a living, even a good living, but a $90 million jet is absurd. What's to stop Apple's board from getting that frivolous again?

The next logical question: What will Apple do with its massive $7.5 billion cash hoard? To date, Apple seems content to hold on to that money. The company has mentioned it may go toward acquisitions or, with board approval, possibly a share repurchase to clean up its shares' dilution. If Apple really wanted to be shareholder-friendly, though, it would return a portion of that cash to shareholders as a one-time or recurring dividend.

We've polished up related Foolishness:

Ready to take your first bite out of the market? Motley Fool Stock Advisor can steer you toward some of Tom and David Gardner's favorite companies. Subscribe today!

Nathan Parmelee counts a G4 iBook and two iPods in his family's holdings, but he has no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.