It’s not usually news that Apple (s AAPL) has scheduled its quarterly earnings call with analysts and investors, but this quarter is a bit different. Expectations are sky-high for the iPhone and iPad maker. The reason? CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer put them there. At the last earnings call, in October — in which Apple missed investors’ expectations — the pair went on record that the fiscal first quarter of 2012 (October through December) would be the company’s biggest yet.
The call is set for 2 p.m. PST on Jan. 24.
Specifically, Cook stated in October, “I’m confident that we will set an all-time record for iPhone this quarter.” Oppenheimer put a bold forecast out there to match: He said Apple would hit $37 billion in revenue for the holiday quarter — up 38 percent from the $26.74 billion of the same quarter last year — and earnings per share of $9.30, up from $6.43.
Those numbers are not at all out of the realm of possibility, thanks to the events of the quarter: It began with the iPhone 4S going on sale, saw the mobbed opening of a new flagship retail store, and ended with the all-important Christmas shopping and gift-giving period that has historically been good for the iPhone/iPod/iPad business units.
Analysts are expecting Cook’s promise of an all-time high for iPhone sales to hold true. There are estimations of up to 30 million iPhones sold, which is 10 million more phones than Apple’s previous quarterly record. There is reason to feel confident in that too: In just the first weekend in October that the iPhone 4S went on sale, Apple sold 4 million of them. And by early December, iPhone carrier AT&T (S T) was already saying it was on the cusp of breaking its own record for quarterly iPhone sales with 6 million, with several weeks in the quarter to go.
IPads won’t be too shabby either. Analysts are expecting between 13 and 14 million iPads sold, which would easily beat the previous quarter’s record of 11.2 million.
We will be covering the announcements here on Jan. 24, so be sure to join us. Besides just talk of records broken, expect discussion around China (Apple’s second-most-important market), enterprise use of the iPhone and iPad, and investors’ favorite topic: the long-sought dividend.