Apple outlook bright despite Jobs' illness

Financial crystal ball gazers are predicting that any drop in Apple's share price due to the announcement that its messianic leader has taken a medical leave of absence will be more than offset by strong December results, the ever-growing uptake of iOS devices and cheaper component costs.

Bean counters at analyst outfit Morgan Stanley reckon the smart money will pounce on cheaper Apple shares if they do take a dip due to the Thin White Duke of Cupertino's decision to take some time off to get his health in order.

Morgan Stanley analyst Kathy Huberty has been sniffing around Apple suppliers all over Asia and reckons supply chain indications point to Apple shifting more than 100 million iPhones and 40 million iPads in 2011, figures which will no doubt be bolstered by the launch of the Verizon CDMA iPhone 4 in the US, as well as the imminent launch of the iPad 2 and the iPhone 5.

The analysts reckon Apple is set to announce revenue of close to $24 billion for the first quarter of the new year.