I'm pretty sure that Apple are a company into making money from selling hardware. Even though they could sell at a loss and make it up with App* store sales. But really you need a monopoly on something to do that. The kind of model Amazon are trying because they most likely have a monopoly on books with Kindle. Google doesn't really have this, unless they start charging us to use youtube.
*App is a registered trademark of Apple inc. California.
This is a pretty interesting fact and something I wasn't aware of before. I've always assumed that Apple sold hardware to lock people into their brand of consumption but looking at the figures its more like they sold hardware to... make money selling hardware.
I think 'why' companies do things is interesting. Apple created iTunes because there was really no other suitable store to support the iPod, and while iTunes now is very long in the tooth (that's being nice) in 2003, it was pretty awesome. If they get their way, revenue from content will become more important to them, but won't get close to iPad and iPhone sales figures for at least 5 or 6 years, assuming they make a significant dent in video on demand.
Apple has always been a consumer hardware company, which by default means you need to make software. Their biggest advantage has always been the software. A Mac is a Mac because of OS X (and Apple design), not because of the chips etc. The iPod killed the other MP3 players because of software. iTunes, iTunes Store, the software on the iPod. But Apple makes relatively little money from iTunes / App store compared to their hardware sales. It's actually more than 4%, in the last quarter they reported, it was 6% for iTunes and 2.5% for other software and services (which includes the App store). iTunes purchases will work on any MP3 player.