When Apple reports on its third-quarter earnings later today, investors will be paying close attention to what the company says about the health of iPod sales. Even though Mac sales account for a substantial portion of Appleis overall revenue, investors are especially interested in the iPod since it helped drive the companyis value up over the past few years, according to MarketWatch.
The general consensus among analysts is that Apple will report sales of US$4.4 billion, up 25 percent from the same quarter last year, and earn 44 cents per share, up 19 percent.
What everyone really wants to hear this afternoon is precisely what Apple wonit talk about - the features we can expect to see in upcoming iPod models.
Some investors are worried because Apple hasnit released a new iPod model yet this year, and rumors are circulating that Microsoft is working on its own portable digital media layer and download service designed to go head-to-head with the iPod and iTunes Music Store.
Appleis comments on iPod demand, however, may help analysts put together a picture of what to expect. If the company hints about strong iPod demand be for the second half of the fiscal year, that may indicate that it plans to introduce a new iPod in time for the back-to-school and holiday buying season.