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Like Intel and IBM last week, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to
report better than expected results for its third quarter this week,
with one analyst expecting revenues of $8.31 billion.

That’s more good news for a technology marketplace that has held off on
purchases as it awaits the end of a long and drastic cut in

For Q3, Bernstein Research expects earnings per share of $1.24, up from
the consensus opinion of $1.16. Several factors are impacting Apple’s
earnings results during the quarter, the firm says, including Apple
price cuts of between 10 percent and 70 percent on its notebook line,
plus updated specifications that make for a higher cost of
manufacturing for new products.

Bernstein Research expects Q3 Mac sales of 2.5 million, which is flat
year-over-year, a decline of 4.6 percent in sales of iPods at 10.5
million units, and a big increase in sales of iPhones – up 575 percent
year-over-year and up 27.6 percent sequentially, including a boost in
iPhone channel inventory.

A couple factors will weigh on Apple’s gross margins going forward, the
firm says, including those notebook price cuts, a longer and more
global back to school promotion, and higher iPhone component pricing
which will add to the cost of manufacturing of the smartphones.

Looking ahead, Bernstein Research is expecting a material sequential
decline for gross margins in Q4, but a brighter picture in the next
fiscal year. The firm is forecasting earnings per share of $6.76 for
fiscal year 2010, which it says is 35 cents above consensus.

“We estimate that even with falling Mac margins and materially lower
iPhone cash average selling prices (ASPs) we think that overall Apple
margins could increase next year due principally to the iPhone’s
increased contribution to overall revenues — 29 percent in fiscal year
2010 versus 18 percent in fiscal year 2009,” writes Toni Sacconaghi in
his brief report previewing the earnings.