Apple Computer Inc. unveiled record earnings yesterday in a quarterly report that was nearly overshadowed by the one thing the company didn't talk about: a mystery announcement that the computer company is scheduled to make today.
Apple reported annual revenue of $13.93 billion and an annual profit of $1.34 billion, the most successful year in the company's history. Revenue grew by 68 percent over last year, and profit was up 384 percent.
For the fourth quarter, the computer maker reported revenue of $3.68 billion and net profit of $430 million. Shares of Apple were up $1.22 yesterday before the earnings announcement, closing at $51.59.
Apple executives largely gave credit for the company's successful year to the iPod digital music player, which has become a mainstay of the company's success. A year ago, Apple sold 2 million iPods in its fourth quarter. This year, the company sold more than 6 million units for the comparable period, which ended Sept. 24.
Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said that many car stereo manufacturers are signing on to provide iPod compatibility and that as many as 30 percent of the new cars sold next year will be able to connect with the popular music player.
Apple generated headlines during the quarter when it introduced the new credit-card-size iPod Nano, which Oppenheimer called "a huge hit" for the company, and the Rokr, an iTunes-compatible cell phone from Motorola Inc.
The company's earnings report came on the eve of yet another secretive announcement that has left the tech community abuzz over what Apple will reveal next.
Last week, Apple e-mailed invitations to media and industry analysts for an event that will be held today in Silicon Valley.
Tim Bajarin, president of market research firm Creative Strategies, said he doubted the company will unveil an iPod that lets consumers watch feature-length movies on it -- a popular prediction among analysts and other Apple watchers -- but guessed that Apple may roll out an iPod that users can watch music videos on.
Or the announcement could be about new laptops, he said.
Or, maybe, something else.
"We haven't a clue," he said.