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Apple to report first quarter 2010 earnings on Jan. 25 [u]

Apple will report its earnings for the first quarter of its 2010 fiscal year on Monday, Jan. 25, two days before the Cupertino, Calif., company is expected to announce new products.

The Mac maker has revealed that its financial results will be reported at 5 p.m. in two weeks, on Jan. 25. Wall Street has lofty expectations for Apple's sales during the holiday season.

Update: Analysts expect Apple to produce an average $2.04 earnings per share in the December quarter, with revenue estimated at $11.98 billion. That would represent a 17.8 percent increase in sales from a year prior. Wall Street also expects to see gross margin of 35.6 percent.

In October, Apple provided guidance with revenue ranging from $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion. The company also said it expects diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.70 to $1.78.

Last year, Apple had a then-record quarter with profit of $1.61 billion, or $1.78 per diluted share for the three-month period ended December 27, 2008. That figure readily beat consensus expectations of $1.39 per share. Apple started 2009 by selling 2.524 million Macs, 4.363 million iPhones, and 22.727 million iPods. With $10.17 billion in revenue, Q1 2009 was Apple's first $10 billion quarter, and gross margins were low at 20.9 percent.

To start 2010, analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray believes there is a chance Apple could sell as many as 3 million Macs in the three month span ending in December. Desktop Mac sales in particular are expected to be bolstered by the release of the new iMac, along with a new Mac mini and server edition. In the portable space, Apple also introduce the new unibody polycarbonate MacBook in October.

Piper Jaffray has predicted Apple will see $11.57 billion in revenue, $1.80 earnings per share, and a 35 percent gross margin. Officially they have predicted sales of 2.86 million Macs, 20.1 million iPods, and 9.3 million iPhones.

A strong holiday could push Apple into record territory for Mac sales. In September, the company had its best quarter ever, shipping 3.05 million Macs, representing a 17 percent year-over-year increase.

Demand for the iPhone has also been strong, with some projecting sales north of 10 million for the device during the holiday. Broadpoint.AmTech analyst Brian Marshall is even more bullish, predicting sales of 11.3 million iPhones in the three-month frame. Last quarter's record-setting pace saw Apple sell 7.4 million handsets.

The Jan. 25 result falls just two days before Apple is rumored to host an event to introduce new products. Reports have said Apple has booked the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. It is widely believed that Apple will officially introduce its touchscreen tablet device, a hotly anticipated piece of hardware that has been rumored for years.

While Apple's still-unconfirmed tablet is expected to see its formal introduction this month, reports have said the hardware will not go on sale until March. Speculation in recent weeks has been rampant, with rumors of 3G connectivity, Web cam functionality, and a possible multi-touch version of the iWork productivity suite.