Earnings preview: Modest expectations for Apple's June 2013 quarter

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As anticipation grows for Apple's next-generation iPhones and iPads, analysts aren't expecting much this afternoon, when the company will announce the results of its recently concluded June quarter.

With 44 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, the average estimates for the June quarter call for $35.01 billion in revenue. That would be about flat from a year ago, when sales were $35.02 billion.

But earnings per share are expected to see a sharp decline from the year-ago quarter, from $9.32 in 2012 to an average estimate of $7.32 for June 2013.

As for specific product sales, RBC Capital Markets pegs Wall Street as expecting Apple to have sold 26.1 million iPhones in the June quarter. Like with the market's expected revenue, that number would be about flat year over year.

Investors also expect sales of 17.4 million iPads for the three-month period, a slight increase from the 17 million iPads Apple sold a year ago.

Averaged estimates also call for sales of 3.9 million Macs and 4.9 million iPods. Gross margin is expected to be about 36.7 percent.

Looking forward to the September quarter, RBC's Amit Daryanani expects Apple will offer guidance slightly below Wall Street expectations, with forecasted revenue of $36 billion and earnings per share of $7.50. He believes investors hope to see guidance of $37.9 billion in revenue and $8.12 earnings per share for the September frame.

Investors generally expect that Apple will launch multiple new iPhones toward the end of the September quarter. The company is rumored to be planning both a high end "iPhone 5S" and a new mid-range plastic "iPhone Lite" for launch in the coming months.

If those handsets were to go on sale in September, about a year after the debut of the iPhone 5, it's unlikely that the products would play a significant role in the launch quarter. Instead, the full effect of those launches would be seen in the following December quarter, where the iPhones would be available for the full three months.

Apple will report its results for the concluded June quarter and current September quarter after markets close this afternoon, and a conference call with company executives is scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Pacific. AppleInsider will have full, live coverage.

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