Updated from 11:12 a.m. EST to provide portfolio manager comments in the third paragraph.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's the mother of all earnings reports. Apple's (AAPL) slated to report earnings and guidance after the close of trading, and given the malaise towards the iPhone maker lately, Apple will need to show something extraordinary to excite investors and regain the aura that's surrounded the company in the past.
Expectations have been lowered going into the report, and Ironfire Capital's Eric Jackson thinks Apple will meet the expectations, and "that will cause a lot of hand-wringing this afternoon about whether the law of large numbers is kicking in." Going a little further out, Jackson believes shares will be higher, as people start to look toward the rest of 2013. Jackson owns shares in Apple and is a RealMoney contributor.Judging by recent smartphone numbers from Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), iPhone activations are less of a concern than they were, which should be a positive for Apple this quarter. Verizon activated 6.2 million iPhones in its most recent quarter, with half of them iPhone 5s. AT&T said it activated 10.2 million smartphones, with most analysts believing that around 75% of them were iPhones. Last quarter, the iPhone accounted for nearly 50% of Apple's revenue. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm generated $36 billion in overall sales during its fiscal fourth quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters are looking for earnings of $13.47 a share on $54.7 billion in revenue. The most important number in the earnings release, in my opinion, is gross margin.
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