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iPod Powers Apple Q3 Sales

Apple iPod sales enjoyed a triple-digit increase during the company’s fiscal third quarter, helping Apple post a net profit of $61 million on sales of $2 billion.

The net profit represented a 14 percent increase, while the quarter’s revenue was up 30 percent, compared with the same period last year.

Apple last week that iPod sales jumped 183 percent, compared with the same quarter in 2003, with 860,000 units shipping during the quarter. The company’s computer segment also performed well with 876,000 Macintosh units shipping, up 14 percent from the prior year.

Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder and CEO, said the just-completed quarter generated the most revenue of any third quarter for the past eight years. However, Apple’s third-quarter success was limited by a parts shortage that resulted in fewer iPod Mini portables being available.

“Our Mac-based revenue grew 19 percent and music-based revenue grew an incredible 162 percent,” Jobs said, adding that Apple will introduce additional products later this year.

Apple executives expect fourth-quarter revenue to be in the $2.1 billion range.

The good financial news was added to the announcement that Apple has started shipping its new 802.11g AirPort Express mobile base station. The Express allows users to wirelessly stream music from the iTunes software on their Mac or PC to any room in the house. Apple said it received more than 80,000 pre-orders for the AirPort Express, which was introduced last month with a $129 suggested retail price.

The company also reported earlier this week that it had recorded the 100 millionth iTunes download. The song was “Somersault” by Zero 7, and Apple gave this lucky customer a PowerBook notebook computer with a 40GB hard drive and a gift certificate for 10,000 iTunes downloads.