Updated from 10:34 a.m. EDT
iPhone fever may have obscured the robust growth in
People familiar with the company say Apple is selling computers at a blockbuster pace. The Cupertino, Calif., company is expected to sell 2.35 million iMacs and MacBooks this quarter,
A sales number that high would beat analysts' estimates by nearly 400,000 units. Pegging the average Mac sales price at a conservative $1,500, a beat of that magnitude stands to boost Apple's top line by about $600 million. Analysts expect the company to post fiscal first-quarter revenue of $5.94 billion.
The popularity of Apple's computer lineup has been fueled by a robust back-to-school buying spree and a revamped iMac roster, say industry watchers.
Apple has about 3% of the world's computer market share, but it has gained ground as larger rivals like
try to revive sluggish sales.
Apple's strong growth prospects and its marketing and design cachet have earned the company a significant premium to many of its tech peers. Apple's market cap is $122 billion -- twice that of Dell, even though Dell's sales are around three times Apple's.
Want more? Check out TheStreet.com TV video.Scott Moritz takes a closer look.
Looking ahead, people inside the company and those close to Apple's plans say there will be a big announcement regarding a so-called subnotebook Mac. The ultra-thin device will have a 10-inch to 12-inch screen; sleek, rounded edges; and weigh less than 2 pounds.
The subnotebook's introduction is planned for next quarter, and the product is expected to be available for the holiday sales season. In preparation for a big year-end sales push, Apple has told some employees to cancel vacation plans "between Thanksgiving and Christmas," says one source familiar with the memo.
Apple shares rose $3.19, or 2.3%, to $143.50 Friday afternoon.