Apple will fully disclose its financial results later today.
Investors, analysts, the media and the wider industry will be watching with anticipation to see if they can dissect further trends from what the company reveals.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs used his keynote speech at Macworld Expo to reveal some significant data: Revenue reached $5.7 billlion, with Apple’s retail outlets attracting $1 billion in sales for the first time; 14 million iPods and 1.25 million iPods shipped.
Consensus estimates among analysts expect Apple to reveal earnings per share of about 60 cents.
Looking ahead at the results, American Technology analyst Shaw Wu said: “We believe Apple is well-positioned to continue above market growth rates with arguably the industry's most powerful and complete stack of hardware, software, and service.”
He predicts Apple will reveal a gross margin of 27.8 per cent and offer a conservative $4.4 billion target for its current quarter. He argues that since the first quarter included the Christmas shopping season, Apple is unlikely to try to match such aggressive success.
While he expects conservative targets to frighten some investors, he believes momentum remains with the company, which he rates as a “Buy” at a new $101 target price. He also argues that should Apple shares dip slightly following the announcement it will be a buying opportunity for savvy investors.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told CNBC: "While 2005 was the year of iPod growth, we believe 2006 is poised to be the year of both iPod growth and, more importantly, Mac market share gains.”
Most analysts agree that Apple’s spectacular iPod sales show that there has been no slowdown in sales momentum for the product.
Apple will webcast its results news at 10pm tonight.