Analysts are split in the run up to Apple's second quarter 2004 financial results announcement, due next Wednesday.

While some intend to look beyond the success of the iPod and take sales of the Power Mac G5 into consideration, others are suggesting that the iPod is more than a one-hit-wonder and are predicting that it will be worth almost $1 billion to Apple this year.

Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst Steven M. Milunovich told the Washington Post "We're optimistic in believing that iPod is not just a one-hit wonder that will be knocked off."

But, according to CBS MarketWatch, other analysts say they will look for signs that sales of Apple's G5 PowerMac computers have improved, noting that the higher-margin Power Macs are seen as contributing more to Apple's earnings than the iPods, and an upgrade in Apple's creative markets is considered crucial to the company's future performance.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call are expecting Apple to earn 10 cents a share on $1.8 billion in revenue, according to Marketwatch.

What's up stock

The Washington Post article assesses the turbulent existence of Apple's stocks, hinting that: "For years, owning Apple stock was like owning an Apple computer – a vote of confidence in a company that sometimes seemed as if it would be crushed any day by larger competitors, chiefly Microsoft."

But, the report adds: "Despite some close calls over the years, Apple has survived and thrived – and so, lately, has its share price. Apple's share price has been growing even faster than tech bellwethers such as Dell and Intel."

The Washington Post notes: "On April 8, 2003, for example, the stock closed at $14.45 a share. Recently, Apple shares cracked the $28 mark." And apparently "Even longtime observers of the company are surprised by the stock's extended rally."

"Regardless of how the company is doing in the market overall, Apple's stock price has tended to rise or fall in close association with whatever new product is causing positive or negative buzz," says the Post.

Director at the Silicon Valley think tank Institute for the Future Paul Saffo credited the savvy business moves of Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs for the stock's recent value. He said: "If Jobs were to leave the company tomorrow people would rush to sell their shares."