Handicapping Apple's quarterly earnings and revenue: Q1 2014January 24, 2014: 9:52 AM ET
Average estimate: $14.32 per share on sales of $57.9B. Apple's guidance: $55 to $58B.
FORTUNE -- On Monday, after the markets close, Apple (AAPL) is scheduled to announce its results for the first fiscal quarter of 2014, and we'll get to test not just the forecasts of our cadre of Apple analysts -- a mix of pros and amateurs -- but the accuracy of Apple's predictions under the new regime.
In the Steve Jobs era, Apple was famous for low-balling the guidance numbers it offered analysts. That way it was sure to deliver an easy "beat" the next quarter -- at least in terms of its own predictions.
Analysts, trying to second-guess the guidance, were all over the lot, as evidenced by the divergence in the three colored lines in the attached charts.
That changed last year, when Apple announced that it would henceforth provide more realistic guidance. You can see the difference starting in Q2 2013 when the average estimates from our two groups of analysts begin to converge.
So what are we expecting on Monday? Apple has said it believes revenues will come in between $55 billion and $58 billion -- or, if you split the difference, around $56.5 billion.
According to Thomson Financial, which tracks a different set of 46 analysts, the consensus on the Street is for earnings of $14.09 on sales of $57.46 billion.
The average estimates from the 49 analysts we've heard from so far -- 31 pros and 18 amateurs -- are a bit higher. They're calling for earnings of $14.32 on sales of $57.91 billion. That's just short of $58 billion, Apple's top guidance number, and represents 6.2% growth year over year.
The indies, as usual, are a bit more bullish. As a group, they're looking for sales of $59.05 billion. The pros, at $57.27 billion, aren't far behind.
High estimate: The Braeburn Group's Faizal Kara at $60.37 billion. Low: Societe Generale's Andy Perkins at 55.4 billion.
We'll post the full spreadsheet with all the analysts estimates over the weekend. And on Monday, we'll find out who was closest to the mark.