Analysts are concerned Apple’s third-quarter earnings will disappoint after reports, apparently from Apple CFO Fred Anderson, that iMac sales have been dropping since April.

UK retail sales sources, who see iMac sales here "bottoming" out, have added to the concern. These sources also express worries over supplies of Apple’s high-end products, where UK demand exceeds supply.

Crucial time Recently, Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Fortuna said Apple’s long-term sustainability would depend on its actions over the next two years, and its success in breaking new markets. He added: "Apple will be more dependent on finding new markets, expanding in the consumer space and trying to reclaim strength in the education sector." Since then Fortuna has revised his estimated iMac sales for this quarter – which ends June 30 – to 445,000, according to MacNN.

Lehman Brothers analyst Dan Niles, during a recent NBC interview, praised Steve Jobs’s "great leadership" of Apple, but said he expected revenues to be a "bit light" this quarter. He agreed that earnings per share on the stock would be fine, and said he "preferred" to hold off till August or September before getting "more aggressive" on the stock.

Apple declined to comment on these reports. The company gained on NASDAQ yesterday, closing up $5.125 at $89.125. Nasdaq closed at 3582.50, gaining 181.59 on the day.