No One Expects Apple to Sell More iPhones, iPads This Quarter – Not Even Apple

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Everyone's weighing in as Apple's second fiscal quarter earnings call draws nigh.

Across the board, there's little expectation of revenue growth between January and March over the previous quarter; indeed, Apple itself has said it likely would generate revenue of between $42 billion and $44 billion, a prediction that sent Apple's stock price into a tailspin in after-hours trading.

Now, as Wednesday's conference call with press and analysts gets closer, media are polling experts for their forecasts. For example, Fortune asked 37 analysts – 23 pros, 14 amateurs – for their takes, and the average revenue estimate came to $43.5 billion.

One of the explanations is that carriers have grown more strict about enforcing a full 24-month upgrade cycle for smartphone contract customers, said Maynard Um, a Wells Fargo analyst. As a result, iPhone sales were likely hampered during Apple's first fiscal quarter, Um said. He thinks Apple will report sales of 39 million iPhones and 21 million iPads for this quarter, alongside revenue of $44.3 billion and estimated earnings per share of $10.15.

Along similar lines, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster is looking for $43.5 billion in revenue and $10.17 per share. He's also calling for iPhone sales of between 38 million and 39 million, and iPad sales of between 20 million and 22 million.

For comparison, in the year-ago quarter, Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones and 19.5 million iPads.

The question now is, how will shareholders react if Apple does come through with flat results? Three months ago, the company's stock took a $50 nosedive in the hours following Apple's numbers report. Will Apple, one of the world's most recognizable, sought-after brands, suffer that fate, or worse, again?

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