Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) Wednesday said its quarterly profit rose to a record level, fueled by strong sales of its iPod (search) digital music players and its signature Macintosh computers.

The forecast for the current quarter, however, was slightly shy of average Wall Street expectations.

"The guidance is just about in line with consensus so that could be perceived as a disappointment," said Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research.

Apple said net income for its third fiscal quarter ended June 25 rose to $320 million, or 37 cents per share, from $61 million, or 8 cents a share, a year ago, on a split-adjusted basis.

Revenue rose 75 percent to $3.52 billion from $2.01 billion.

Analysts had expected Apple, which has blown past average Wall Street expectations in recent quarters, to earn 31 cents per share, on average, on revenue of $3.34 billion, according to Reuters Estimates. Earnings estimates ranged from 28 cents a share to 34 cents a share.

For the current, fourth quarter, Apple said it expects earnings per share of about 32 cents and revenue of about $3.5 billion.

Analysts currently expect Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple to have a profit of 32 cents per share, on average, within a range of 25 cents to 36 cents, on revenue of $3.58 billion.

Shares of Apple rose 11 cents to close at 38.35 on Nasdaq. So far this year, the stock has increased in value by about 18 percent, after tripling in 2004. In after-hours trade on Inet the stock rose 2.9 percent to $39.46.