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Apple set to release third quarter 2009 earnings report on Tuesday

It's been a nice year for Apple so far. Stock prices have been steadily rising since January, outpacing a middling technology market. Apple is poised to reach a stock price it hasn't seen since August, 2008. And this particular quarter has seen a lot of Apple news and activity: the new iPhone 3GS was released this quarter with an associated 1 million device sales in the first weekend alone, the MacBook line received a refresh and a price cut, and Apple reported that application downloads on iTunes reached the 1.5 billion mark. Plus, let's not forget that Steve-O (ostensibly) returned to work in June.

Apple appears to have weathered the Palm Pre assault with considerable fortitude, and the iPhone in all its iterations now commands more than 10% of the smartphone market.

So what are experts predicting for Apple tomorrow? For starters, above-average revenue. Among well-regarded Wall Street analysts (take that for what it's worth) the top estimate is by Mark Moskovitz of J.P. Morgan, predicting 8.49B in revenue, with earnings per share (EPS) of $1.23. Lowest is Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, who is predicting "only" 8B in revenue. But all revenue estimates are above the guidance numbers released by Apple itself, which put revenue at 7.9B. The Thomson Financial consensus (an average of all predicted reports) puts revenue at 8.18B. Everybody is in agreement that Apple's gross margins, which were 36.4% last quarter, are the envy of the market.

Trading is brisk today, and stock prices are rising in expectation of tomorrow's positive announcement. Apple's announcement will occur at 5pm EST Tuesday. Check back for TUAW's report. It will be very interesting to see how well Apple does.

It's been a nice year for Apple so far. Stock prices have been steadily rising since January, outpacing a middling technology market. Apple...