Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) lovers, rejoice! First, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) announces it will offer chubby-faced, knee-high Happy Meal gobblers the choice of apple slices and caramel dipping sauce along with the traditional side of fries. Now, Apple Computer turns in its highest quarterly sales in nearly three years.

Last night's report from the artsy computer maker gave the faithful plenty to cheer about. A broadening product line helped boost Apple's third-quarter revenue 8% to $1.55 billion. Drilling down, a drop-off in iMac shipments was offset by a welcome surge in the sale of iPod music players and high-priced laptops.

Earnings? You had to ask. Net profit fell to just $19 million from $32 million a year ago. To put that in its sad perspective, Apple's $4.5 billion in idle cash and short-term investments delivered the lion's share -- $15 million in interest income before taxes.

But let's sidestep profits for the moment and get back to the spiked punch bowl. The best top line in 11 quarters showcases Apple's strength: portables. PowerBook sales were chipper and 6.5 million downloads from its iTunes store helped move more than 300,000 iPods.

Apple even gained ground in the education market -- something that seemed hopeless when it surrendered its lead in the classroom to Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) years ago.

Whether you consider CEO Steve Jobs the devil or a multimedia Midas, he's got Apple moving in the right direction. My hunch is that presently this goes to the bottom line. Apple is looking to improve its profits sequentially as it closes out its fiscal year. Apple lovers, rejoice!

Is the Apple evolution being helped as it starts to think outside of the desktop box? Is Steve Jobs really the devil or just a very lucky visionary? All this and more -- in the Apple discussion board. Only on