Apple will webcast its first quarter 2008 financial results conference this week.

The conference takes place on Tuesday, 22 January at 2pm PST (10pm, UK time). Apple will provide live audio streaming of the event through its website. QuickTime 6 or 7 is required to listen to the transmission.

Apple is widely expected to announce better than expected earnings for its crucial first quarter, traditionally one of its strongest. Climbing Mac and iPod sales and cheaper than anticipated component prices are expected to weigh up the company's revenue and profits for the quarter. The company is also predicted to reveal strong retail sales in the period, underlining the growing importance of its expanding fleet of retail stores.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial estimate Apple will earn $1.62 a share on revenue of $9.47 billion - up 33 per cent in revenue, year-on-year.

During the same quarter in 2006, Apple reported iPod sales of more than 21 million devices, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster now estimate iPod sales could reach 25 million units.

Caris & Co. analyst Shebly Seyrafi told Dow Jones checks of Apple retail stores and channels show the company's "strong holiday sales stand in contrast to recent reports showing weak retail sales during the holidays". Interest in MacBooks, the iPod touch, iPod nano and iPhone remain high, the analyst said.