Apple Computer has said that its second-quarter profit rose 41 percent, beating Wall Street estimates, as sales of its iPod players continued to soar and Macintosh computer shipments increased by 4 percent.

Apple said it earned $410 million, or 47 cents per share, in the three months that ended April 1. In the same period a year ago, the company earned $290 million, or 34 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter was $4.36 billion, up 34 percent from $3.24 billion in the year-ago quarter, but fell below the projections of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, who, on average, expected revenue of $4.54 billion.

The analysts’ consensus earnings forecast was 43 cents per share. Still, analysts are expecting Apple to grow beyond its current 3 percent to 4 percent share of the computer market because of its switch this year to Intel chips, the same used by its PC rivals. With the iMac, the MacBook laptop and Mac Mini computer already shipping with Intel chips, Apple is about halfway through the transition, which the company says will be completed by the end of the year.

Some think another boost in Mac sales might come from Apple’s historic release earlier this month of software that gave Macintosh users an easy way to install Microsoft Windows operating system and switch between the two platforms on a Mac.

Meanwhile, iPods are still dominating the portable media player market. More than 8.5 million units were shipped during the second quarter, up 61 percent from the year-ago period, the company said.

We're thrilled about the quarter,'' Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, said in a phone interview.It’s the second best revenue quarter we’ve ever had, topped only by last quarter.”

Shares of Apple closed down 57 cents at $65.65 on the Nasdaq Stock Market but gained $2.69, or more than 4 percent, in after-market trading after it released its quarterly results.

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