Apple was on the receiving end of some nice comments this afternoon. W.R. Hambrecht analyst Matthew Kather believes that the company's current quarter is shaping up so well that he raised his fiscal year earnings and revenue forecast for the firm. Kather said strong demand for iPods in particular is behind his new forecast. Kather estimates that for Apple's fiscal year, the company will earn $3.67 per share on $24.09 billion in sales, compared to his previous forecast of $3.63 per share on revenue of $23.67 billion.

Kather said he expects Apple to sell 12 million iPods during its fourth quarter, which ends in September. Kather also said that he believes Apple's iPhone business is accelerating due to the company cutting the price of the device to $399 in the U.S.

The shares gained nearly 3% in trading this afternoon, but are still facing potential resistance at the 146 level. This area capped the stock's rally attempts in early September and marks an all-time closing high for the shares. However, the security's 20-week moving average continues to climb and could help to boost the shares.

In options trading today, investors showed a preference for calls. The October 145 call traded more than 19,000 contracts, the October 140 call traded roughly 17,000 contracts, and the October 150 call had nearly 17,000 cross the tape. By comparison, puts were quiet. The most-active put in the October series was the 145 strike, with fewer than 11,000 contracts crossing the tape.