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.
Estimates range from 4.3 to 4.85 million. The best analysts' consensus: 4.64 million
FORTUNE -- Compared with Apple's (AAPL) iOS devices -- the iPhone and the iPad -- the Mac is a turtle. Slow and steady has characterized its growth rate since the launch of the iPhone -- an average of 26% year over year for the past five years.
This time, with no new Mac introductions to boost sales in the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 20, 2012 6:30 AM ET
Looking for fiscal Q2 2011 earnings between $5.89 and $6.32 a share
Asymco's Horace Dediu, whose track record on Apple (AAPL) over the past three quarters is second to none, and Daniel ("Deagol") Tello, one of the industry's most closely watched blogger-analysts, have posted their Apple estimates for the topsy-turvy quarter than ends this Saturday, March 26.
Dediu, who likes to make his predictions early, announced on Jan. 22 that he's looking MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 21, 2011 2:37 PM ET
Two lists by Daniel ("Deagol") Tello, a Venezuelan blogger who keeps track of such things
The first, at right, shows the cumulative record of three-dozen Apple (AAPL) analysts -- both professional and amateur -- over the past four quarters.
The list looks a lot like the one we posted this morning, with the amateurs bunched at top and the pros -- including some of the biggest names on Wall Street -- at MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 19, 2011 6:29 PM ET
Analysts estimate that Apple may have sold as many as 90 million between 2007 and 2010
Next week, when Apple (AAPL) releases its earnings for the quarter that ended Christmas Day, it will be closing the books on the era of AT&T (T) exclusivity in the U.S. -- the company's largest single market for iPhones.
It was an extraordinary run, despite all the jokes about dropped calls and flaky service. Since Apple MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 13, 2011 7:01 AM ET
He's a Romanian blogger with a Harvard MBA who lives in Finland. Go figure.
What if you took all the estimates by all the analysts who write about Apple (AAPL) -- and there are dozens -- and ranked them by how closely their predictions matched the company's quarterly earnings reports. Would you be interested in who came in first?
Daniel Tello, a Venezuelan amateur with a strong track record of his own, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 22, 2010 7:48 AM ET
Within two years, it should be Apple's second largest source of revenue, after the iPhone
The log chart above, produced by Daniel ("Deagol") Tello, shows the revenue stream from the iPad overtaking the Mac's -- much as the iPhone did three years earlier and the iPod did a few years before that.
In Tello's model -- available here -- the iPhone remains Apple's (AAPL) No. 1 source of revenue for the foreseeable MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 13, 2010 11:53 AM ET
The bloggers beat the pros once again this quarter, but not quite as handily as before
The professional analysts who track Apple (AAPL) for banks and brokerage houses may have been surprised by the $15.7 billion in revenue the company reported Tuesday -- an all-time record for Apple in what is traditionally one of its weakest quarters.
But the blogger-analysts we polled in advance of the earnings report were not. In fact, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 21, 2010 5:53 AM ET
$267 a share, according to Trefis.com's model. But feel free to build your own.
The analysts at Trefis figure that the iPhone accounts for 51.5% and the iPad only 4.3% of Apple's (AAPL) fair market value, which they estimate at about $267 a share -- nearly $20 above Friday's closing price.
How do we know? Because their model of the company (right) -- fully interactive and satisfyingly drillable -- is neatly displayed MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 17, 2010 4:32 PM ET
Published estimates -- from those who dared make them -- ranged from 250,000 to 700,000
Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster issued a mea culpa Monday morning after Apple (AAPL) sent out a press release with its official iPad sales figures.
Munster, who had predicted four days earlier that Apple would sell 200,000 to 300,000 iPads over the course of the weekend, more than doubled his estimate to 600,000 to 700,000 Saturday night MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 5, 2010 4:15 PM ET
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