Analysts predict another solid quarter for Apple

The company appears poised to report another good quarter, particularly on sales of Macs and iPhones.

The biggest story this week is the "lost"/"stolen" iPhone that Gizmodo posted photos of on Monday. Apple requested the return of the device , but we will have to wait to see if it turns out to be the new iPhone. Apple will be talking on Tuesday, but it will be more EPS and unit volume sales than gossip about gadget blog exclusives. Apple is due to report its second quarter 2010 earnings on Tuesday after the bell.

Not that the quarter ending March 27 was boring. It's been a big quarter in terms of news: introduction of the much-ballyhooed iPad, a high-profile lawsuit initiated against HTC, and the purchase of Quattro Wireless , a mobile ad company that became the basis for the iAd platform . But the thing that keeps stockholders happy is rising sales and higher earnings per share. Apple's put together an impressive string of successful quarters, and analysts that follow the company don't appear to be expecting anything different Tuesday.

The estimate for Apple's revenue for the quarter is between $11.2 billion and $13.25 billion, with earnings per share targeted between $1.93 and $2.72. That implies a growth in sales between 38 percent and 62 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

The three main components of Apple's business all appear to be business as usual: Macs up, iPods down, iPhones way up. Toni Sacconaghi at Bernstein Research is anticipating a growth in Mac sales of about 40 percent, a decrease in iPods by 10 percent, and 92 percent rise in iPhone sales.

Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray is slightly more conservative. He estimates Mac sales will be up 25 percent to 31 percent for the second quarter, and iPods down between 9 percent and 17 percent. For iPhones, he's anticipating 6.9 million sold during the quarter, which is 82 percent higher than a year ago.

The iPad of course, is not a factor yet because the quarter ended March 27 and the first sales did not start until April 3. But as far as the three main branches of Apple's business (as of the end of March) go, it's expected to be business as usual. Really good business.

And Apple's not alone. Intel just reported a fantastic quarter, saying that laptop chips were in very high demand. The PC industry in general also appears poised for a comeback, with units growing 24 percent during January, February, and March.

Jobs announced two weeks ago that the company had sold 50 million iPhones. Next quarter will be more insightful since new MacBook sales will be represented, as well as tablets.

Other things to watch out for: if Apple gives any forward-looking expectations for the iPad, maybe an update on sales--we already know it sold 450,000 in the first week; perhaps an update on the App Store; as well as Apple's beef with Adobe Systems over Flash.

And you can bet analysts on the earnings call will push for Apple comment on the leaked iPhone 4G. Whether Apple will discuss it is another matter.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur. E-mail Erica.

 

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