Apple Computer

Apple's star continues to rise as the company celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Apple without CEO Steve Jobs? It's hard to imagine. Afterall, Jobs co-founded Apple and brought the company back from the brink when it fell from the top of the tech heap in the 1990s.

Under the leadership of Jobs, Apple began its return to profitability with the launch of the candy-colored iMacs in 1998. Apple's strategic move into digital music with the introduction of the cool white iPod in 2001, and the subsequent launch of its digital music store via iTunes in 2004, made the computer seller a leader in the portable music player market.

Rumor has it that Apple is likely to release the iPhone, a mobile phone/MP3 player hybrid, next year.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company, which turned 30 in April this year, reported greater than 30 percent growth in both Mac and iPod sales, and earned the company US$546 million in net quarterly profit, on revenue of US$4.84 billion, for the three months ended September 30.

In August this year, Apple and archrival Creative Technology finally settled their legal dispute over music player patents for US$100 million, to be paid by Apple.

Apple ranks among ZDNet Asia's Top 10 fastest-growing companies for 2006/07.