Merill Lynch expects iPod sales to fall slightly below targets in the current quarter, but predicts that Apple's Mac sales will offset the gap.

Analyst Richard Farmer expects the company to achieve revenue of between $4.57 to $4.66 billion.

He predicts iPod sales of 7.7 million, which while lower than previous quarters still represents a 20 per cent climb in sales, year on year. He expects over 1.5 million Mac sales.

Apple will reveal the real numbers behind its fourth quarter performance after markets close this Wednesday.

Last week, analysts at Piper Jaffray and UBS also both revealed lower iPod sales predictions and admitted rising Mac sales. None of the analysts are particularly concerned, saying that Apple has plenty of product upgrades to keep busness steady in future.

"Apple continues to innovate and dominate when it comes to digital media and products," said Standard & Poor's analyst Scott Kessler.