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Wall Street expects $76.5B in revenue from Apple in record breaking holiday quarter

Apple this afternoon is expected to reveal that it just concluded its biggest quarter in the company's history, with Wall Street watchers projecting an average of $76.5 billion in revenue from the holiday period.

Market consensus numbers shared this week by J.P. Morgan call for Apple's gross margins to be at 39.9 percent, with earnings per share projected at $3.23. Analyst Rod Hall's own predictions are largely in line with the market, calling for revenue of $76.7 billion, gross margins at 39.8 percent, and EPS of $3.25.

If those numbers prove accurate, they would best Apple's previous all-time record, achieved in the holiday 2014 quarter. For that December frame, Apple posted quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion, with net profits of $18.9 billion.

Hall believes Apple sold about 76 million iPhones in its first quarter of fiscal 2016. He believes buy-side expectations on Wall Street are that iPhone unit sales will be in the "low 70s."

The key number is 74.5 million —that's how many iPhones Apple sold in the same quarter of last year. If Apple can beat that number, then it will continue its trend of growing iPhone sales with every new model since the product line debuted in 2007.

Apple's own guidance for the December 2015 quarter projected revenue between $75.5 billion and $77.5 billion, with gross margins between 39 and 40 percent. That means Wall Street expectations are squarely in the middle of Apple's own guidance.

The results of Apple's holiday quarter will be revealed Tuesday afternoon, after markets close at 4 p.m. Eastern. A conference call with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri will follow at 5 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Pacific, and AppleInsider will have full, live coverage.