Can Apple Earnings Still Surprise Wall Street?

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surprised

What sort of numbers should Apple report later today for the first quarter of 2012? The third quarter surprised all analysts as Apple announced a rare under-performing quarter due to the late introduction of the iPhone 4S. Stung by that rebuke, professional analysts are offering conservative projections for the first quarter of 2012. This sets up a classic pros versus independents cliffhanger.

The consensus forecast of institutional investors for Apple’s quarterly revenue is $39.23 billion, slightly above Apple’s $37 billion guidance finance head Peter Oppenheimer issued in October. Professional analysts also expect Apple will have sold 30 million iPhones, 13.62 million iPods, 13.29 million iPads and 5.09 million Macs.

By comparison, independent analysts are expecting the Cupertino, Calif. company will announce $43.14 billion in quarterly revenue, higher than both the pros and Apple. Indy analysts are also forecasting 33.35 million iPhones, 14.63 million iPads, 14.43 million iPods and 5.24 million Macs sold during the quarter.

Apple announces the actual figures later today, after the markets close.