Fans and investors are anticipating a major week for Apple as the company is expected to post huge profits on Monday, followed by a highly anticipated new product launch this Wednesday.

The company's venerable iPhone will bode well for the bottom line this quarter, analysts predict, as Apple expanded into two key markets -- China, the world's most populous nation, and South Korea, a hotbed of gadget innovation.

We will likely see a new quarterly shipment record, beating its previous record of 7.4 million iPhones set last quarter, and close to RIM's record of 10.1 million BlackBerries shipped, Kaufman Brothers' Shaw Wu told clients.

Strong Mac sales are likely to play a strong role as well.

Unlike Windows PC makers, many of whom slashed prices to compete in the slowing economy, Apple was relatively free from pressure to cut prices.

Wall Street expects Apple expected to post a profit of $2.07 per share on revenue of $12.1 billion for its previous quarter. This is higher than Apple 's own guidance of $1.70 to $1.78 per share on $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion in revenue.

Overshadowing all these events, however, was rampant speculation that Apple would release a tablet-style computer in time for the holiday shopping season.

The firm is expected to release details on its 'latest creation' on Jan. 27, though checks with partners and suppliers show the device can be described as a large scale iPod Touch with a number of advancements.

The product would most likely not ship in volume until the June timeframe, as the firm is working out minor issues including battery life and durability, Wu said last week.

Still, the device is expected to turn into a significant source of revenue for the company.

The tablet has the potential to disrupt the movie media environment, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who expects a revamped iTunes will be unveiled to supply the tablet with media content.

If the company prices the tablets at about $500 it could be another must have device that will sell about 5 million units, bringing in as much as $28 billion in its first year, RBC's Mike Abramsky predicts.

Priced at $800, he believes it will be a niche product that will sell about 1 million units and bring in about $777 million

Apple's stock rose 15 percent in the quarter to close at $209.04 on Dec. 24.

Today shares are up 2.77 percent, or $5.47 to $203.22.