Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is set to release its earnings report for the first quarter of 2013 this afternoon after the market closes. One analysts report, from Societe General, points out that the way in which the company reports might be even more important than the numbers this time around.

apple earnings

The analyst expects Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to take revenue of $44 billion, on earnings per share of $10.40. Those numbers are at the upper range of what most analysts are predicting from the Cupertino firm, but, according to the subtitle of the report, this time around the numbers might not be that important.

One of the big factors that hit Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares the last time the company reported was how the report was written. The particular factor that irked analysts and investors was the more realistic figures Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) put on its guidance numbers. Traditionally, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) set guidance figures that it would easily beat. This time around things were different.

The Societe General report’s subtitle highlights the importance of the company’s new guidance policy. It’s certain that too much has been made of the change for the company to comfortably turn it around. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will have to stick with its new guidance methodology, unless is wants to really upset the market.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has serious problems with perception, not with its customers, but with analysts and investors. The massive weight of success distorted the view of the company, and its old guidance system probably added to the problem of unsustainable price target growth.

The guidance figures, and the methodology behind them, will be one of the most contentious topics surrounding the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) earnings report. The conference call, which will be held at 5 p.m. EST, will feature a host of analysts questioning not just the numbers, but how they were reached, and whether the company will give more notice of such changes in the future.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares trended up on today’s market in anticipation of an earnings report that could drive the company’s shares up after a long period of losses. Since the start of 2013, the company’s shares have lost more than 23 percent of their value.

At least some of that is down to the way in which Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported its earnings the last time around.