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Monday, July 21, 2014, 05:34 am PT (08:34 am ET)

Earnings Preview: Wall Street expects solid quarter from Apple, but focus is on the fall

While many Apple observers expect the company to reveal solid year-over-year growth for its relatively quiet June quarter, much of the focus will be on new CFO Luca Maestri's guidance for the fall with updated iPhones and iPads on the horizon, the expected closing of the Beats acquisition, and the possibility of a so-called "iWatch."

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Cowen & Co.'s Timothy Arcuri was bullish on Apple's prospects in a Monday morning note to investors, predicting that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company would beat the Wall Street consensus. The bank expects earnings per share of $1.17 on revenue of $36.6 billion, compared to $35.4 billion one year ago.

Arcuri believes Apple may have sold as many as 38 million iPhones thanks to "tepid demand" for competitors like Samsung's Galaxy S5 and the increasing availability of high-speed LTE wireless connections in growth markets, including mainland China. In contrast, the 12.5 million iPads Apple is thought to have sold through June would represent a modest drop from the 14.6 million tablets the company shipped in the year-ago quarter.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, meanwhile, sees sales of 35 million to 36 million iPhones and 14 million to 15 million driving revenue of $38 billion, a 7 percent year-over-year increase.

Both analysts are looking to Apple's September guidance for evidence of the company's launch schedule for its next-generation products. A late September launch for the so-called "iPhone 6" could mean a boost of as much as $2 billion to Apple's revenues for the quarter, Munster believes, driving them as high as $41 billion.

Other topics analysts are sure to press Cook and Maestri on include Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats — which Cook previously said would be accretive to revenues in the fourth quarter — and the effectiveness of its recent 7-for-1 stock split. The company's new enterprise partnership with computing giant IBM is also likely to be on the docket.

AppleInsider will provide live coverage of Apple's earnings call for the company's fiscal third quarter — the company's first with Maestri at the helm — on July 22.