Apple was admired even before Wednesday’s introduction of its iPad 2 tablet , as the company finished atop Fortune‘s list of the World’s 50 Most Admired Companies for the fourth consecutive year.

Other companies from the tech and media sectors that made the list were: Google (No. 2), Amazon.com (7), Microsoft (9), IBM (12), Disney (14), Cisco Systems (28), Intel (32), Samsung Electronics (38), Netflix (40), eBay (45), Sony (46), and Oracle (48).

Shelley DuBois wrote in the entry for Apple:

Apple took a stock hit when iconic CEO Steve Jobs announced in January that he’d be taking a second medical leave, two years after receiving a liver transplant during a six-month sabbatical. But Jobs assured the market in the company’s recent earnings report that Apple was still “firing on all cylinders.”

It certainly appears to be. Apple nearly doubled its quarterly profits vs. a year ago. The iPad 2 was introduced in March, marking the second generation of one of Apple’s milestone product successes. And Jobs made a surprise appearance at the launch.

Another huge move by Apple was the announcement this January that the iPhone 4 would be available from Verizon, offering another option to consumers frustrated with dropped calls on AT&T.