WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) doled out two big surprises yesterday, but most of the media failed to give them the equivalence they deserved. The first surprise--the one all the boys and girls are talking about--is this: Apple fell short of expectations.

But it's the separate and nearly equal surprise that was missed or underplayed: Apple talked up estimates for the current quarter. Yes, folks, Apple raised numbers. This is a hold-onto-your-hats rarity. Normally, Apple downplays expectations with unparalleled regularity. Yesterday, though, in addition to lifting numbers, management was tossing around terms like "all-time record" and "unbelievable."

Wow. Considering that it's all quite feasible. The company appears to be making up--and more--for iPhone sales in the 4th quarter put on hold until the iPhone4S arrived in the 1st. Double wow.

But The New York Times failed to mention the significance of Apple's shift in tone and tactic. Sure: they mentioned the higher forecasts. They even mentioned the happy rhetoric. They did not, though, point out that this was a departure and surprise, perhaps every bit as big as Apple's earnings shortfall.

The Associated Press mentioned the surprise nature of the forecast, but only in passing. Down low in their earning coverage, they say: "Apple usually low balls forecasts." The headline of the article, though, was "In a rare miss, Apple 4Q earnings disappoint."

Forbes got it right. Up top, they tell us: "Apple providing bullish guidance is almost as rare as the company missing estimates." Considering, that was a welcome bit of equal weighting.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.