If you hadn't heard, Apple was the lone bright point in a sea of bad financial news yesterday1. Their last quarter was stupendous. revenue grew 35% year over year, total profit grew about the same amount. Apple's profit margin even grew by a couple of ticks. They're earning more revenue than ever and they're making more profit off of that revenue than ever:

The Company posted revenue of $9.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.58 billion, or $1.76 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $1 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 34.7 percent, up from 31.2 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 45 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

What spurred this growth? Why, selling more gadetry, of course. Macs were way up, but check out these iPhone sales numbers:

Apple shipped 2,319,000 Macintosh® computers, representing 44 percent unit growth and 47 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 22,121,000 iPods during the quarter, representing five percent unit growth and 17 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone™ sales were 2,315,000. -

...For those of you keeping score, that means Apple sold only 4,000 more Macs than they did iPhones. That will change this quarter, I'm sure.

When I think about it, the most surprising thing about Apple's turnaround since the return of Steve Jobs is how long it took them to get into making things like the iPod and the iPhone. Apple's strength has always been making hardware and software seamless work together in a way that creates just a little joy for the user. Limiting that skill to just computers (well, and the Newton) as Apple basically used to do seems just plain crazy now.

Seems like every time I wrestle with a gadget lately - from a Cable Box to a Camcorder, somewhere in the back of my mind I'm thinking "Apple could so this better." Not "I could do this better," mind you. Apple could. I'm willing to bet that there are millions like me right now.

...And that's as good an explanation as any for why they just had their best quarter ever.

1 - No, I'm not a financial analyst, but even that rate cut seems to have been taken as a sign that things are bad -- a desperate measure.

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