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 quarter that just ended, analysts across the board are expecting growth rates closer to 20%.
In fact, in this category it's hard to tell the Wall Street analysts from the amateurs.
The average estimate among the 51 analysts we polled for this report was 4.54 million, 20.7% higher than the 3.76 million sold in the same quarter last year.
One the low end, nine of them -- six professionals and three independents -- submitted estimates of 4.3 million, a growth rate of 14.4%
The top estimate of 4.85 million, submitted by a pair of independent analysts, Navin Nagrani and Daniel ("Deagol") Tello, corresponds to a growth rate of 29%.
The consensus among the six best analysts with the best track record over the past five quarters was that Mac sales grew 23.3% year over year to reach 4.64 million.
We'll find out who was closest to the mark when Apple reports its earnings after the markets close next Tuesday, April 24.
Below the fold: The analysts' individual estimates, with the pros in blue and the amateurs in green.
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
With Apple's earnings due next week, the two groups of analysts are miles apart
The amateur analysts who follow Apple (AAPL) tend to be considerably more bullish than the professionals who do it for banks and brokerage houses. After all, unlike the sell-side analysts who are telling investors to buy the stock, they don't have clients who will be angry and disappointed if the company doesn't exceed expectations.
But with Apple set MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 15, 2011 10:59 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
The rate slows to 5,000 per day as Apple offers school discounts and begins accepting apps
It's been a busy week for the iPad.
It started off with a bang, as Apple (AAPL) racked up pre-orders at the rate of more than 25,000 units per hour early Friday March 12, according to the team tracking order numbers at Investor Village's AAPL Sanity board.
By Sunday, the initial frenzy had cooled. The pre-order rate MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 20, 2010 3:33 PM ET
On track to reach 200,000 units one week after Apple began taking orders online
After an initial flood of pent-up demand and some ups and downs over the first weekend, pre-orders for the iPad tablet computer are now averaging 10,000 per day, according to Daniel Tello, a Venezuelan blogger-analyst who writes about Apple (AAPL) using the pseudonym Deagol.
Tello has been tracking order numbers submitted by volunteers since March 12 at 8:30 MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 18, 2010 6:44 AM ET
A rough three-day estimate, based on an analysis of order numbers: 152,000 units
After the initial burst of excitement on Friday that saw iPad pre-orders coming in at the rate of 25,000 per hour, there was a dramatic fall-off over the weekend.
According to Daniel Tello, the Venezuelan blogger-analyst who has been tracking order numbers submitted by volunteers at Investor Village's AAPL Sanity board, orders on Saturday and Sunday slowed to an MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 15, 2010 5:17 AM ET
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