Despite strong sales, iPad supplies and Japan's quake make Q2's report a hard one to call
Nobody, not even CFO Peter Oppenheimer, thinks that Apple (AAPL) earned as little as $4.90 per share on revenues of $22 billion last quarter -- the numbers he offered in January when he issued his guidance for the company's second fiscal quarter of 2011.
As usual in the Steve Jobs/Tim Cook era, the game at the end of each quarter is to try to predict how dramatically Apple beat not just its own laughably conservative guidance, but the consensus of Wall Streets' sell-side analysts who also estimate conservatively, although less so and for different reasons.
The leading amateur analysts, who don't have clients dependent on them for investment advice, tend to be more bullish. They also tend to do a far better job at predicting Apple's sales and earnings.
But given the uncertainties this quarter -- including the effects of Japanese tsunami and iPad 2 supply levels -- this could be one of those days where they they miss the mark from the other side.
Here are the numbers we'll be watching when Apple releases its earnings after the markets close on Wednesday:
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