FORTUNE -- Neither side scored a clear victory this time around. The professional analysts as a group were far too cautious. And our expanded cadre of independents showed signs of irrational exuberance.
But the list at right, which ranks 57 Apple (AAPL) analysts by the accuracy of their fiscal Q2 2012 revenue and earnings estimates, shows that the independents have once again bested the pros -- their 14th win in 15 quarters.
The top eight spots were taken by indies, including four of the six "best analysts" whose estimates we used as a benchmark in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's earnings report.
The top spot goes, once again, to Daniel ("Deagol") Tello, a Venezuelan blogger who has been posting earnings estimates since 2005. You can read his occasional analyses here.
Special mention goes to Alexis Cabot, an American expat living in Rome, who came in first in the ranking that includes all six categories (revenue, EPS, unit sales and gross margin). And to Chuck Jones, a former buy-side tech analyst who has been doing independent analysis on Apple for six months and came in third in his first outing.
Kudos also to Pacific Crest's Andy Hargreaves, BCG's Colin Gillis, Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig and J.P Morgan's Mark Moskowitz who all managed to make it into the top 15 despite institutional pressures not to stray too far from the Street's consensus.
Last place went to Gabriel Dubois, an independent from the newly formed Braeburn Group who like many of his peers this quarter let his enthusiasm get the better of him, overestimating iPhone sales by nearly 9 million units and revenue by nearly $8 billion.
Otherwise the bottom of the list was populated by pros who seem to have missed those photographs of Chinese iPhone buyers mobbing the Beijing Apple Store. How else could Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore, ISI's Brian Marshall and Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty have submitted iPhone sales estimates of 26, 26 and 30 million units, respectively?
For the record, here's how our six "best analysts" -- the top performers over the past five quarters -- did as a group:
Clearly the key to correctly predicting Apple's bottom line was getting the iPhone number right.
Below the fold: Our annotated master spreadsheet, with the best estimates highlighted in bright green, the second and third best in light green, the worst in red and the second and third worst in pink.
Mean analyst estimate: 7.9 million. The amateurs, as usual, are more bullish than the pros
Apple (AAPL) is scheduled to report its fiscal third quarter earnings on July 19, a week from today, and in preparation for our quarterly earnings smackdown we've been gathering estimates from the small army of analysts -- profession and amateur -- who follow the company.
The biggest mystery this quarter -- and the biggest discrepancy in unit MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 12, 2011 6:15 AM ET
Big firms like HP supposedly inhabit the safe, stable sector of tech. But everything from the Japanese earthquake to an uncertain mobile future has led CEO Leo Apotheker to a moment of reckoning.
FORTUNE -- Last week, Cisco's troubles were made painfully apparent when the company announced there would be layoffs, likely in the thousands.
Then on Monday Bloomberg News got hold of a memo from Leo Apotheker, CEO of Cisco's (CSCO) MOREDan Mitchell, contributor - May 18, 2011 1:04 PM ET
An analyst takes his quarterly look at the company from both sides now
There are a lot of superlatives being thrown around this week as analysts position themselves for Apple's (AAPL)'s fiscal third quarter earnings report, scheduled for July 20.
In a note to clients issued Wednesday, Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi, not always the company's greatest booster, called Apple "the most secularly attractive name in our coverage universe."
Brian Marshall of Gleacher & MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 7, 2010 1:52 PM ET
The consensus on Wall Street was that Apple would sell fewer than 382,000 iPads a month
In the wake of Apple's (AAPL) announcement Monday that it has sold 2 million iPads in less than two months, this seems a good time to revisit the sales predictions made by the experts when the iPad first came out.
As it happens, we published the estimates of 14 Apple analysts on Jan. 28, the day MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 31, 2010 3:31 PM ET
Its Cinderella contract with Apple for the iPhone runs out in seven months, says one analyst
Broadpoint AmTech's Brian Marshall, who has replaced Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster as the most bullish of the mainstream Apple analysts, made several assertions of fact in an Bloomberg TV interview Friday that -- if true -- struck me as newsworthy. Chief among them:
The contract that gives AT&T (T) exclusive access in the U.S. to Apple's MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 22, 2009 10:35 AM ET
Over the past decade, Mac shipments have grown with nearly every new Microsoft release
As if Steve Ballmer didn't have enough to worry about after last week's Sidekick/Microsoft (MSFT) Danger debacle, here's a bar graph that may add to his miseries.
The graphic (shown full-size below the fold) comes out of a report to clients issued Monday by Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall. Anticipating the release of Windows 7 next week (Oct. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 13, 2009 5:55 AM ET
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