Apple Earnings Preview: Will Cupertino Blow It or Report a Blowout?

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All eyes will be on Apple (NAS: AAPL) tomorrow night, as the Mac maker kicks off its fiscal 2012 with first-quarter results after Tuesday's close.

Last quarter, Cupertino surprisingly put up a miss relative to Wall Street estimates. Perhaps prospective iPhone buyers put off their purchases in anticipation of the new model. Perhaps Wall Street analysts are sick of getting repeatedly punked by the Mac maker. Maybe it was both.

Well, it's time to forget the past and look to the future. Onwards and upwards!

There are plenty of hints that Apple won't blow it this quarter, and instead will post a blowout. Allow me to clarify that by "blow it," I am referring specifically to Street expectations, since I personally found nothing unimpressive with last quarter's results.

That being said, let's look at what the Street is expecting.

On average, revenue is expected to be $39.2 billion, with earnings per share of $10.19. Those figures would represent year-over-year growth of 47% and 58%, respectively, over the first fiscal quarter of 2011.

Estimates for iPhone unit sales range from between 25 million to 36 million, compared to the 16.24 million units moved a year ago. The consensus for iPad units is 13.5 million, a nice boost relative to the 7.33 million iPads that found new homes last time around. Macs should see shipments of about 5.1 million, which would be unit growth of 23% over the 4.13 million Macs sold during the prior year's quarter.

The iPhone 4S has seen the fastest global rollout yet, with its domestic launch alone moving over 4 million units in one weekend. The 4S is also the first model that made it to Sprint's (NYS: S) network, allowing the carrier to join rivals AT&T (NYS: T) and Verizon (NYS: VZ) in the iPhone club. That expanded availability should help Cupertino's shares reach new heights.

I'm expecting iPhone average selling prices to meaningfully trend higher, since this year's models saw $50 price bumps along with a new 64 GB model that topped out at an astronomical $849. A recent survey from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners pegs the 64 GB model at 21% of sales, although the sample size is relatively limited, at 365. The figure is in line with a separate survey conducted by Piper Jaffray during launch weekend that showed 19% of buyers went for the gold, with 550 respondents.

Regardless, with the entry-level price of the iPhone 4S now starting at $649 domestically, this quarter's ASP is practically guaranteed to trounce the $645 iPhone ASP a year ago.

Shares reached new all-time highs within the past week, breaking $400 billion in market cap for the first time ever, as investors are showing their optimism heading into this quarter's results. Don't forget to check back later tomorrow for the Foolish lowdown on Apple's figures.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of Apple, Verizon Communications, and AT&T, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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