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Analysts predict another record-breaking quarter for Apple

Apple will announce its financial results for fiscal Q2 2012 on 24 April

Analysts expect Apple to report another record-breaking quarter later this month after exceeding expectations in Q1 of fiscal 2012.

Apple will reveal its financial results for fiscal Q2 2012 on Tuesday 24 April, the company announced this week , in a conference call with analysts that will take place at 9pm BST.

Though Q2 isn't expected to match up to Q1, when Apple generated revenue of $46.33bn in revenue and made a $13.06bn profit, Apple's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer predicted that revenue could hit $32.5bn in revenue and earnings per share of $8.50. This compares to revenue of $24.67bn and earnings of $6.40 a share in fiscal Q2 2011.

Expectation among analysts is also high. Mark Moskowitz of investment bank JP Morgan is particularly optimistic, expecting revenue to hit $39.1bn with earnings per share of $10.80, up from his earlier predictions of $34.9bn in revenue and $9.42 earnings per share.

Moskowitz believes that sustained demand for the iPhone 4S as well as the launch of the third-generation iPad in March will drive revenue in fiscal Q2, which ended 31 March. "Our research indicates that the iPhone and iPad shipment activity in the supply chain implies major upside potential to our previous estimates. We are not trying to inflate expectations," Moskowitz told investors in a note distributed this week.

iPhone sales for the quarter will hit 31.1 million, said Moskowitz, a revised estimate, with shipments of iPads hitting 13.8 million. This compares with iPhone sales of 18.6 million in Q2 2011 and iPad sales of 10.1 million in the same period, even if it doesn't reach the heady heights of Q1 2012's 37.04 million iPhones and 15.4 million iPads.

Asymco's Horace Dediu is even more optimistic than Moskowitz, believing that iPhone shipments will hit 37.7 million - up around 100 percent year-on-year and slightly ahead of Q1 2012's figures - and iPad sales to hit 12.2 million. Revenue will reach a staggering $42.7bn, Dediu reckons, with earnings per share of $12.

Topeka Capital's Brian White, meanwhile, takes a more conservative view in general, though his prediction of 14.47 million iPad shipments is noticably higher than most of his peers' forecasts. Revenue, he expects, will hit just over $37bn, earnings per share will reach $10.06, and iPhone sales will come in at 29.64 million.

Figures collated by Thomson/First Call at the end of the quarter averaged out forecasts from 44 analysts and came up with a figure of $35.88bn for Q2 2012 revenue, only slightly ahead of Apple CFO Oppenheimer's predictions.

The highest prediction offered by these 44 'professional' analysts was $41.09bn, and the lowest $32.79bn. Earnings per share predictions averaged out at $9.78 - $1.28 ahead of Oppenheimer's forecast - with the highest estimate $11.80 and the lowest $8.46.

Over the weekend, Fortune collated predictions from 16 independent analysts to compare to the numbers Thomson/First Call came up with, and found them to be much more optimistic.

The independent analysts came up with revenue of $42.68bn on average for fiscal Q2 2012, while earnings per share will reach $12.66. As Fortune's Philip Elmer-Dewitt notes, the independents "tend to be both more bullish and more accurate" and got much closer to predicting Apple's fiscal Q1 2012 results than the 'professional' analysts did.

We'll know in a few short weeks just how close the predictions were. You will be able to listen to live streaming of the call on Tuesday 24 April on the Apple website, while Macworld will have full coverage and analysis of the data on the night.


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