Analysts are beginning to place their bets for Apple's earning announcement next week, anticipating a 34 per cent rise in earnings per share.

A MarketWatch report observes that the iPhone is expected to contribute some dollars to Apple's bottom line, despite only being on sale for two days within the quarter.

According to Thomson Financial Wall Street predicts Apple will reveal $5.29 billion revenue, up from $4.37 billion in the year ago quarter. The quarter is likely to be held up by strong Mac and consistent iPod sales.

Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer has gone on record to predict a slightly less flamboyant quarter. Speaking in April, he told investors: “Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2007, we expect revenue of about $5.1 billion.”

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster doesn't expect much impact within the current quarter from the iPhone. He does expect the device will have an even stronger future halo effect on Mac market share than the iPod has had.

IDC this week released figures confirming Apple has become the third biggest computer manufacturer in the US (a position it shares with Gateway), and now holds 5.6 per cent of the US PC market.

Mac adoption is clearly accelerating. In 2005 Apple held 4.4 per cent, while in 2006 it grabbed 4.8 per cent of the US PC market.

Given recent surveys claiming as many as one-in-three US consumers will buy an iPhone, and new rumours claiming Apple to be taking as much as $10 a month for each iPhone subscription from carrier AT&T, it's clear that - financially, at least - Apple's near-term outlook continues to improve.

Apple shipped 1,517,000 Mac computers and 10,549,000 iPods during its previous quarter, representing 36 per cent growth in Macs and 24 per cent growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter.

Speaking during the last financial announcement in April, Apple CEO Steve Jobs observed: “The Mac is clearly gaining market share, with sales growing 36 per cent - more than three times the industry growth rate. We’re very excited about the upcoming launch of iPhone in late June, and are also hard at work on some other amazing new products in our pipeline.”

Apple stock currently stands at $140 per share.