People shop in an Apple store in New York, N.Y.
People shop in an Apple store in New York, N.Y. - 
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JEREMY HOBSON: And investors will surely be watching Apple, which reports its fourth-quarter earnings today. As we all know, the company's had big success with its iPad tablet, the latest-generation iPhones and i-everything else. So Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman, our i-correspondent, joins us live with a preview of today's earnings. Good morning, Mitchell.

MITCHELL HARTMAN: Good morning, Jeremy.

HOBSON: So first the good news Mitchell, Apple's expected to have done pretty well in the latest quarter? How well?

HARTMAN: Well analysts polled by Thompson First Call are predicting earnings of just above $4 a share. The stock is already up about 40 percent this year. It's hard to find a product category that's not doing well for Apple right now -- iPads, iPhones, iPods, that's the iPod Touch, Mac computers are all flying off the shelves in the U.S. and abroad. Now, Apple isn't alone among tech companies with rising sales and a really strong balance sheet. But Carl Howe, who's a technology market analyst at the Yankee Group in Boston, told me Apple is different at this point from the competition.

CARL HOWE: I think you have to treat Apple as a special case. It's not just another tech company. For one thing, it's a retailer. They have well over 300 stores worldwide now. And they sell as much electronic fashion as they do what we would traditionally call technology.

HOBSON: All right Mitchell, the same old story -- Apple's such a great company. Is there anything rotten about this Apple?

HARTMAN: Well, maybe one thing. They apparently can't get enough iPhone 4's and iPads out to customers. The iPad's going to be sold at Wal-Mart soon, there could be an iPhone for Verizon finally. Demand is huge, but meeting that demand is actually proving a challenge for them.

HOBSON: All right. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman, thanks so much.

HARTMAN: You're welcome.