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3 numbers to watch when Apple releases earnings Tuesday

In this Sept. 19, 2014 file photo, Mark Kellman uses his new iPhone 6 to take a photo at an Apple Store in Palo Alto, Calif. Analysts expect the California tech giants quarterly financial report Tuesday, July 21, 2015, will show another powerhouse performance. Apples signature iPhones remain popular, even as other smartphone makers are seeing demand slow down.
In this Sept. 19, 2014 file photo, Mark Kellman uses his new iPhone 6 to take a photo at an Apple Store in Palo Alto, Calif. Analysts expect the California tech giants quarterly financial report Tuesday, July 21, 2015, will show another powerhouse performance. Apples signature iPhones remain popular, even as other smartphone makers are seeing demand slow down. AP

There’s a lot to live up to when Apple Inc. releases earnings results after Tuesday’s market close: Driven by iPhone sales, it’s beaten analysts’ estimates for profit in eight straight quarters and for revenue in seven of those.

The anticipation is building this time as well: The profit projection has climbed about 2.5 percent in the past four weeks as analysts at Pacific Crest Securities, Mizhuo Securities, UBS AG and others foresee strong sales for the smartphone.

Apple may report profit of $1.81 a share on revenue of $49.4 billion, based on the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. To get there, here are some of the key milestones the company needs to hit, based on the projections:

▪ IPHONE: Apple may move 48.8 million units of its top-selling product, which accounted for almost 70 percent of total revenue last quarter. The past two quarters will be hard acts to follow as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales helped Apple reach all-time quarterly profit in the period that ended in December, followed by its second-highest profit last quarter. In that six-month stretch, Apple sold a combined 135.6 million iPhones, compared with 169.2 million for all of fiscal 2014.

▪ APPLE WATCH: Apple may have sold 3.4 million smartwatches, with estimates ranging from 3 million to 5 million. The company’s tight lip about the newest gadget has made it hard to assess the performance so far. There are two camps: Analysts who say shipments dropped after the first few weeks, and those who say it’s steadily gaining acceptance. Analysts may have to do more sleuthing for a good number even after today’s report because Apple has said it will lump Watch information into an “other” revenue category along with iPod, Apple TV, Beats headphones and speakers. For the full fiscal year, eight analysts on average project sales of 8.1 million watches.

▪ IPAD: Apple may have sold about 10.9 million tablets. In the fiscal second quarter, iPad shipments fell 23 percent to 12.6 million, a bigger drop than projected and the fifth straight quarter of year-over-year declines. Last month, Apple told developers that software changes to the iPad will let some of the devices multitask when video is being played, creating a picture-in-picture similar to features once found on high-end TVs. The software upgrades will be available this fall.

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