apple profits graph
Instead they came from a trip to the mall.
As always, Lynch was interested in what people were buying there.
However, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Rolfe Winkler there's a new twist to this theory: these days it also pays to keep an eye not on what consumers are buying, but what criminals are stealing.
As Winkler claims we're suddenly in the grips of an "iCrime Wave". Not surprisingly, the products mentioned are those from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
What's also interesting is what's not mentioned.
There are no crimes associated with Samsung, the world's largest mobile phone company who partners with Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) in the Galaxy Nexus.
There is no report of the criminal element targeting the Blackberry from Research-in-Motion Ltd. (Nasdaq: RIMM), even though it was the first smartphone.
And no Lumias are certainly mentioned from the partnership of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).
As Israel Ganot, the founder of Gazelle, an electronics recycler, notes, "There is insatiable demand for iPhones outside the U.S., mostly in emerging markets."
That is certainly the case in China, where more than 20 fake Apple stores have been busted.
Meanwhile, there no reports of stores anywhere that traffic in fake Research-in-Motion or Nokia products.
As usual, those analysts will be wrong.
The Wall Street consensus for Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) June quarter is for earnings per share of $10.38 on revenue of $37.34 billion.
But Apple has beaten the expectations of the "pros" 25 out of the past 26 quarters, and usually by an embarrassingly large margin. Back in April FactSet Research reported that over the previous 20 quarters, Apple has beaten Wall Street's consensus by an average of 22%.
A miss by that margin for the June quarter would put Apple's EPS at a lofty $12.66.
Philip Elmer-Dewitt, who writes the Apple 2.0 blog for Fortune, has been documenting this phenomenon for years.
Each quarter he tracks the predictions of dozens of analysts, both pro and independent. After Apple announces Elmer-Dewitt produces a scorecard to show how each fared. The independents, he's found, hit the mark far more often than the pros.
His current poll of 66 AAPL analysts includes 32 pros and 34 independents. For the June quarter, the average estimate for the pros is earnings per share of $10.32 on revenue of $37.3 billion. The indies, however, see EPS of $12.28 on revenue of $41.43 billion.
Meanwhile, EarningsWhispers.com gives an EPS of $11.63.
Where Wall Street often goes wrong is in severely underestimating Apple's product sales.