Apple Reports Earnings Wednesday, TMO to Provide Live Coverage

$AAPLApple is scheduled to report earnings for the December quarter on Wednesday, January 23rd, after the closing bell on Wall Street. The Mac Observer will provide live coverage of the company's conference call with analysts, which begins at 5:00 PM EST (2:00 PM PST).

This will be one of the most closely watched quarters in Apple's corporate history. Stories about weakening iPhone demand, cutbacks in iPhone components for the March quarter, and all manner of negative speculation have swirled around the company in recent weeks, resulting in the company's stock dipping below US$500 last week, the first time since February of 2012.

Consensus among analysts, both informed and less-informed, is that Apple will turn in record iPhone and iPad results for the December quarter, Apple's first fiscal quarter. The company is also expected to turn in a year-over-year decrease in Mac sales as the PC industry as a whole declined.

What remains to be seen is the guidance that Apple will offer for the March quarter (Apple does not usually offer guidance past the current quarter-in-progress). The company tends to be very cryptic with its guidance, and is known for sandbagging by setting very conservative expectations.

That practice of sandbagging has resulted in one of the most widely-played games of guess-what-the-corporate-giant-is-up-to on Wall Street today. This quarter will bring even more intense interest in Apple's guidance due to the far-flung speculation about iPhone demand.

The markets were closed on Monday in honor of Martin Luther Kind Day. Apple closed on Friday at an even $500, down $2.68 (-0.53 percent), on light volume.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.