Apple will be releasing its first quarter 2013 financial results in just 21 days. The company will hold its quarterly earnings conference call on January 23 at 2 p.m. PST.

Investors are likely to scrutinize the company like never before to see if CEO Tim Cook will be able to steer the company forward like Steve Jobs.  Apple has recently had a rather abrupt slide in stock price.  That said Apple’s first quarter is always its biggest quarter, since it starts before the Christmas shopping season, and this quarter promises to be no different. The past three months saw the full wide spread availability of iPhone 5 and the updated iPad 4, fifth-generation iPod Touch, seventh-generation iPod Nano, and iPad mini. Both are viewed as critical because  the iOS product family accounted for more than half of Apple’s 2012 revenue. Also included in this report will be the latest Mac sales including the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, newly-updated Mac Mini, redesigned iMac, and first-generation iPad Mini.

Apple’s guidance for quarterly earnings is at $52 billion in revenue, with earnings per share of $11.75. According to the Motley Fool, Wall Street is estimating $54.5 billion, with $13.30 in earnings per share. If Apple meets its own expectations, it will easily best its strongest quarter in history.That would compare with $46.33 billion in Apple’s Q1 2012 numbers, which included $13.06 billion in net income. Last year, it only took the release of the iPhone 4S, the iPad 2 and the iBooks 2 platform to achieve the most successful quarter in history. 

Apple had its most successful quarter ever this same time last year; one year later, most analysts expect the company to break all of its previous earnings records.

According to the consensus on the social stock-predicting platform Estimize, which is often a little high, Apple’s numbers will be $14.66 per share, with revenue predictions from the high $40 billions to outrageously high estimates in the mid $70 billion range.

The big question is: How many iPhones and iPads will Apple sell?We know from recent reports Apple has increased share as both a platform and mobile subscribers.  Source.   

Apple has had some spectacular hiccups in recent months as well.  The Apple Maps fiasco, in which the CEO had to issue a corporate apology and recommend competitors mapping solutuons as a more functional solution.  Also some of the most recent software launches have had some minor issues and the final products are delayed, or laden with bugs.  The newest iOS 6 recently had a bug discovered that impacted the touted “Do NOt Disturb” functionality.  Some cracks have been showing in the Apple armor.  Whether to address those problems or to clean house or to show investors something was happening, Tim Cook reorganized his executive team showing Scott Forstall and John Browett the door and retaining Bob Mansfield with the company.  On paper these moves seem sound and may allow Apple to right its wobbly course. The present team takes many of the leaders proven under Jobs and allows them to run their divisions.

We have just a few short weeks to wait in anticipation of what Apple’s financials are and how Wall street reacts.  Historically, the stock takes a bit of a dip but after the slightly disappointing results last quarter the stock has been slowly heading downward.

It is the dawn of an exciting new age at Apple and I think this will be the first telling sign of how the new leadership team is managing.