Apple earnings preview: Some fear iPhone sales will disappoint

Technology champion Apple (AAPL) reports earnings Monday after the market closes, but despite general optimism about the Cupertino, Calif. cash machine, a feeling of unease is percolating in some quarters. For one thing, Wall Street has figured out that Apple is an inveterate expectations-downplayer -- meaning the company always "manages" to surprise on the upside. For another, there is concern over gross margins, as well as Apple's ability to hit Street estimates for the number of iPhone units shipped.

"The only relevant number is going to be the number of iPhones sold," Apple analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham & Co. told DailyFinance. "Nobody cares about the iPod, and they've already hit their Mac guidance."