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Tickers in this Article: AAPL, AMZN, INTC, GOOG, RIMM
It's no longer a surprise when Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) makes money, but what is surprising is that it continues to exceed the most optimistic expectations. The types of growth rates that the company produces are not what you're supposed to get in a business doing over $40 billion in annual sales. For the first fiscal quarter, Apple generated $15.7 billion in sales, $3.4 billion of which fell to the bottom line. This figure breaks down to $3.67 a share, nearly 50% higher than the year-ago comparable number.

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Simply Astonishing
Apple sold 3.4 million Mac computers during the quarter, 33% more than the year-ago quarter. That's nothing compared to the iPhone figures - 8.7 million, or to put in better perspective, 100% more than the year ago period thanks to places like South Korea. The only blemish was an 8% unit decline in iPod sales in the quarter. And the figure that investors care about the most, cash flow, was $5.8 billion. According to Apple's iconic chief Steve Jobs, the company is very excited about new product introductions in 2010, "starting this week with a major new product that we're really excited about." If the company's history is any guide, today's release of a tablet computer could be a game-changer.

In Rare Company
The frightening thing about Apple is that if it continues to innovate as well as it has, it could continue to defy expectations. The company's continued innovation and broad appeal is found in very few companies, if any. Names like Amazon (Nasdaq:AMZN), Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) and Intel (Nasdaq:INTC) come to mind. Google, coincidentally, is currently rolling out its own phone and it will be interesting to see how it does. As of this moment, it has a long way to go to catch up with the lead that Apple has built up. Other than the iPhone, the Blackberry mobile handset made by Research in Motion (Nasdaq:RIMM) is the only device with significant penetration.

Where To Now?
If Apple earns $10 a share in 2010, its current price implies a 20 earnings multiple, hardly expensive for a company with the growth numbers it's producing. If the company's new product release this week can capture iPhone-like numbers over the next several years, it may still be worthwhile to take a bite out of Apple. In the meantime, it may now be best to enjoy the company's fabulous products and leave the stock to growth chasers. (For more, see 3 Secrets Of Successful Companies.)

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