FORTUNE -- It was almost like the Apple (AAPL) Earnings Smackdowns of old, where the free-wheeling amateur analysts -- focused obsessively on their favorite investment -- clobbered the Wall Street professionals by correctly anticipating a huge beat driven by stronger than expected iPhone sales.
Except that six years ago, when we began this quarterly exercise, Apple was still growing by double digits, Steve Jobs was still low-balling guidance and (retiring) CFO Peter Oppenheimer was burying much of Apple's iPhone revenue in deferred payments that the amateurs had discovered but the pros apparently hadn't.
Today, Apple's guidance is "realistic," iPhone sales are booked in the quarter they are received, and the amateurs -- burned by filing too many overheated estimates -- have grown so cautious their numbers are nearly indistinguishable from the pros'.
We have to give a shout-out to Patrick Smellie of the independent Braeburn Group for submitting a revenue estimate that, while nearly $1 billion shy of Apple's actual total sales, was closer than anyone else's.
But Scott Craig's No. 2 ranking -- and his No. 1 performance in "all categories" -- is actually more impressive. Smellie bets high every quarter and this time it paid off. Craig, who was No. 1 in Q2 last year, has been doing well in good quarters and bad.
Among the other amateurs who scored high are veterans Daniel ("Deagol") Tello (No. 6 and No. 2 overall) and Michel Content (No. 4 and No. 8).
Among the pros, shout outs (along with Craig) to Wells Fargo's Maynard Um (No. 7) and Goldman Sachs' Bill Shope (No. 12) for forming little blue islands in a sea of greens. Also to Needham's Charlie Wolf for the best iPhone and iPod estimates.
This was not a quarter to underestimate Apple, as evidenced by all the red and pink in the boxes next to our three biggest bears: Credit Suisse's Kulbinder Garcha (No. 39), ISI's Brian Marshall (No. 38) and the Braeburn Group's Sunil Shah (No. 37).
Below: 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. Thanks one last time to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn Group numbers.
The analysts' estimates range from 15 million to nearly 22 million. Average: 19.3 million.
FORTUNE --Although the heyday of the iPad -- when it basically owned the tablet computer market -- may be over, the product line is still Apple's (AAPL) second most important source of revenue, holding steady at roughly 20% of total sales.
With growing competition and the rise of the phablet (mini-tablets that double as phones), nobody is expecting a repeat of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 18, 2014 6:57 AM ET
A "top secret" internal report shows Samsung sold half as many Galaxy Tabs as it claimed.
FORTUNE -- We were skeptical in January 2011 when Strategy Analytics reported -- based on a vague comment made to investors by a Samsung vice president -- that the company had already shipped 2 million Galaxy Tabs, reducing Apple's (AAPL) market share to 75% from 95% in less than six weeks.
Nearly two dozen news outlets went with the report, including MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 11, 2014 6:08 AM ET
All it needs to do, says the bank's new Apple analyst, is put a keyboard on the iPad.
FORTUNE -- There's been a changing of the guard at J.P. Morgan.
Long-time Apple (AAPL) analyst Mark Moskowitz is out. Taking his place is telecom analyst Rod Hall, who brings with him what he believes is a $63-billion idea.
Apple, he wrote in an inaugural note to clients Tuesday, basically owns the market for laptops priced above MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 9, 2014 11:29 AM ET
Of 7,500 teens polled, 6% already wear a smartwatch, 61% own an iPhone, 40% own an iPad.
FORTUNE -- Before anyone gets too excited about the results of the teen survey Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster released Tuesday, the numbers need to be put in some kind of socioeconomic context.
For one thing, American teenagers tend to be richer -- a lot richer -- than teenagers in the rest of the world. For another, the sample of roughly MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 8, 2014 5:44 PM ET
Word, Excel and PowerPoint finally landed Thursday on Apple's family of tablets.
FORTUNE -- For Apple (AAPL) iPad users who -- for whatever reason -- are wedded to Microsoft (MSFT) Office, this is a big deal.
The official demonstration of Office for iPad started at the 10 minute mark in Microsoft's Thursday press event, right after CEO Satya Nadella, the newly appointed successor to Bill Gates and Steve Balmer, delivered his "mobile-first, cloud-first" marching orders.
The new apps are available on MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 27, 2014 6:32 PM ET
The company's approach: build a cloud for everyone on every device.
FORTUNE -- In his first public press conference as Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella announced iPad versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, available today.
"Today's briefing is all about giving you the first step on a journey," Nadella said during his opening marks. During the event, Nadella outlined a company vision that includes what he called a "critical intersection of mobile MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Mar 27, 2014 2:21 PM ET
The Russian Ministry of Communication denies it's blowback from the crisis in Ukraine.
FORTUNE -- Yes, the Russian government has dropped its American-made Apple (AAPL) iPads in favor of Korean-made Samsung tablets.
But no, the change -- spotted by reporters covering the Kremlin -- has nothing to do with the invasion and annexation of Crimea, the freezing of Russian assets or the threat of further sanctions against Vladimir Putin's government.
That's the word out of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 27, 2014 8:06 AM ET
How customers buy and use iPads affects the device's long-term prospects, says CIRP.
FORTUNE -- For Apple (AAPL), the iPhone is a sale that keeps on giving -- at least in the U.S. Once a customer has bought one, he or she is likely to come back for another, usually within two years, when that contract expires.
The iPad is a like a big iPhone in some respects. The two devices share MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 21, 2014 8:22 AM ET
Today's chart: iPad vs. Android tablets vs. Microsoft Surface, hour by hour
FORTUNE -- The folks at the Chitika ad network set out last month to test whether Microsoft's (MSFT) Surface -- heavily promoted as the tablet best suited for doing real work -- is actually being used more in work settings than Apple's (AAPL) iPad or all those tablets that run Google's (GOOG) Android.
To find out, they analyzed tens of millions of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 12, 2014 9:45 AM ET
|Regulators pave way for Internet "fast lane" with net neutrality rules|
|GM's $1.3 billion recall cost wipes out profit|
|Taxpayers are subsidizing CEO pay - The Buzz|
|Coffee prices skyrocket after Brazil drought - The Buzz|
|Female gun instructors in hot demand|