Macworld Expo has become an annual rite -- not just for the growing legions of Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) fanatics, but also for wild analyst predictions. Seth Jayson took the alleged sharpshooters to task last year for their outlandish expectations. The ultimate introductions at the time seemed relatively tame by comparison. The iPod shuffle? The Mac mini? Crickets chirping?

However, with Apple shares nearly tripling last year, one has to wonder how high the stock will go in a year when the company really pulls off some exciting news at Macworld.

I guess we're about to find out, because Steve Jobs had plenty of interesting announcements yesterday. For starters, yes, Apple introduced its first computers based on Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) chips. The new line of speed-demon notebooks and desktops should sell briskly -- they're priced right, and the company's brand continues to enter households through the runaway smash success of the iPod.

Speaking of iPods, Apple announced that it had moved 14 million more over the holiday quarter. With more than 42 million iPods sold and 850 million songs purchased at Apple's iTunes Music Store, the company is now off to a blazing start selling videos now, thanks to its latest batch of video-enabled iPods.

Though the Mac faithful normally think that Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates have cooties, even Motley Fool Inside Value pick Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) had some good news to sprinkle onto the crowd. The company will continue to support Apple's latest lines with its Office suite of productivity software. That really shouldn't come as much of a surprise; it's just good business sense. Apple sold 1.25 million computers this past quarter, eating away at the market share of other computer manufacturers.

However, perhaps one of the best nuggets out of Macworld was a seed that won't sprout until next Wednesday afternoon. That's when the company is set to report its fiscal first quarter. Blowing past analyst estimates -- yet again -- is practically a given after Apple announced that sales for the period shot up by 63% to hit $5.7 billion. Analysts figured the company wouldn't break $5.1 billion, on average. That should translate into some beefy market-thumping profits in seven days. Start counting.

Yes, that's the Macworld Expo gift that keeps on giving.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that an Apple a day will help keep the short sellers away. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.