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Apple Takes a Run at the Sun

Expectations for a blowout put extra heat on Apple ahead of earnings.



) --


(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report

is on a breakneck pace to blow past Wall Street's rapidly rising targets.

The Cupertino, Calif. gadget maker is set to report earnings after the bell Monday and expectations are, well, getting a bit lofty.

With iPads quickly becoming the must-have holiday device and the iPhone still the crowned champion of the smartphone heavyweights, Apple optimism has reached all-time highs.

Not only is Apple expected to crush September quarter estimates, some analysts are calling for Apple to set an even higher forecast for the December period. "With continued momentum in all product lines as well as easing supply constraints for both iPhone and iPad, we see the potential for Apple to surprise to the upside on guidance again," UBS analyst Maynard Um wrote in a research note Friday.

Analysts expect Apple to post adjusted earnings of $4.03 a share on sales of $18.7 billion. And the street consensus calls for the company to have sold 12 million iPhones and 4.75 million iPads. But some analysts have been bumping up those numbers.

On Friday, RBC analyst Mike boosted his iPad estimates to 5 million and raised his iPhone projections to an eye-popping 13.5 million for the September quarter.

It would be silly to wave a caution flag in front of all this building momentum, right?

But this is Wall Street, where winners have to earn their exalted status by surpassing ever-rising expectations. For a true blowout, Apple has to beat all the numbers and beat them by a wide margin.

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In time for the holiday push, Apple has lined up its iPad retail partners like


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and it finally struck a

breakthrough retail agreement



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The news has caused Apple shares to run a string of

all-time highs

in recent weeks.

The upshot: At peak altitudes, investors could start to feel a little queasy.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: follow Scott on Twitter, go to>To send a tip, email: