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The big news from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) next
week may be coming on Jan. 27, when many are speculating the PC and smartphone
giant will announce a mobile device with a tablet form factor, but first, on Jan.
25, the Silicon Valley icon will be releasing its first-quarter 2010 earnings,
and analysts are expecting good things.

Financial analyst firm Sanford Bernstein is forecasting that Apple will deliver
earnings per share of $2.24, an increase from $2.21, and revenues of $12.6
billion, up from $12.42 billion for the previous quarter.

For the second quarter Bernstein is forecasting revenues of $11.24 billion and
earnings per share of $1.95, both of which are above consensus analyst
estimates.

Bernstein forecasts Apple will announce fiscal first-quarter sales of 3.1
million Macs, a 24 percent increase year over year; 19.8 million iPods, a
decrease of 13 percent year over year; and 8.5 million iPhones, a 94 percent
increase year over year and a 15 percent sequential increase.

"We expect Apple to provide conservative guidance, as per usual,"
wrote senior analyst Toni Sacconaghi in a brief report previewing Apple’s
earnings. "On average over the last 12 quarters we note that Apple has
guided 4 percent below consensus revenues and 13 percent below consensus posted
earnings per share."

Apple’s iPhone sales and sales of its (expected) forthcoming tablet will tell
much of the revenue story going forward, the firm notes.

"Whisper numbers are that Apple could sell 5 million to 10 million tablets
in its first year, which we think is unrealistic given its expected price point
and the first-year sales volumes of other game-changing devices—iPod, Kindle,
iPhone, netbooks," Sacconaghi wrote, adding that Bernstein estimates the
price of the coming Apple Tablet at $750.