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Monday, January 17, 2011, 09:00 pm PT (12:00 am ET)

Apple outlook raised to 7 million iPads, 4.3 million Macs for Q1 2011

Apple is expected to beat even some above-consensus revenue numbers when it announces earnings Tuesday night, having sold new peak numbers of iPhones, iPads and Macs in the winter quarter.

Analyst Mark Moskowitz of JP Morgan has weighed in with an earnings expectations report that expects "Apple to beat our above-consensus revenue and EPS estimates of $24.778 billion and $5.38," noting that "the Street consensus is at $24.226 billion and $5.34."

In an earlier report, Kathy Huberty of Morgan Stanley forecast $23.9B in revenue and $5.25 EPS, on sales of 16 million iPhones, 5.5 millions iPads, 17 million iPods and 4 million Macs.

Last month, Moskowitz estimated iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales of 15.1 million, 6.7 million, and 4.3 million respectively.

"Our recent research indicates, however," Moskowitz wrote today, "that the actual iPhone numbers could track closer to 16.0 to 16.1 million units and iPad shipments could be 6.9 to 7.0 million units. We do not expect much of a delta to our current Mac unit estimate. We believe that the potential iPhone and iPad outperformance could add 'at least' $0.25 of EPS upside potential."

Steve Jobs' medical leave likely to overshadow strong earnings report

Moskowitz added, "In our view, Monday’s news of Mr. Jobs’ medical leave will weigh on shares of Apple in the near term. We highlight partial offsets, though. Apple has been down this road previously, and the management team, under COO Tim Cook's direction, has executed very well.

"Also, we think that the F1Q11 earnings report, the Feb. 10 Verizon iPhone launch, and Apple’s ongoing market share momentum in tablets and PCs should refocus investors on the unrivaled model that Mr. Jobs and his team have built and sustained."

In a separate report, Moskowitz noted, "Mr. Jobs previously had taken leaves to receive a liver transplant (2009) and battle pancreatic cancer (2004). The totality of these medical leaves does suggest Mr. Jobs' health wellness profile may not be what investors prefer, but we point out that Apple’s strategic initiatives have not been derailed by past medical leaves. This dynamic is important, given Mr. Jobs’ reputation of being involved in the workflow from proof-of-concept to product announcement.

"While not knowing the details behind the current medical leave, we point out that Mr. Jobs has demonstrated a great resolve to improve his health previously, emboldened by the attitude and philosophy that helped him lead Apple’s remarkable rise over the past decade. In our view, Mr. Jobs and his team have made Apple become the primal force in shaping consumers' technology-driven 'way of life.' While the competition is increasing in the areas of smartphones and tablets, we do not expect Apple's technology and user experience leadership to fade.

"As with past medical leaves, we expect investors and the media to debate whether or not the Apple management team can execute with Mr. Jobs on leave. We believe the proof is 'in-the-pudding.' Apple has been a technology company without rival over the past decade in terms of a large cap growth story that just keeps getting bigger and stronger. During this period, there were times when Apple’s management team, under the direction of COO Tim Cook, had to run the company without Mr. Jobs on a temporary basis, and there were no major missteps. We expect much of the same this time."