After a disappointing [define disappointing] third quarter last year, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook made one of the boldest projections in the company’s history: Apple is going to sell 30 million iPhones and hit $37 billion in revenue in Q4 of 2011.

To put these numbers in perspective, Apple only sold 17 million iPhones in Q3 of last year, hitting just $28.3 billion in revenue. So you can see why some folks were taken a back by Cook’s predictions. But hey, anything can happen, right?

According to UBS analyst Maynard Um, Apple is not only on pace to hit its lofty goal of 30 million iPhones this quarter, but could very well exceed it. AppleInsider breaks down Um’s extrapolation:

“Verizon CFO Francis Shammo had said earlier on Wednesday that the carrier sold 4.2 million iPhones during the [December] period. Meanwhile, rival AT&T announced in early December that “strong” iPhone 4S sales had brought the carrier’s smartphone sales in the first two months of the fourth quarter to 6 million, just shy of its quarterly record of 6.1 million sales.”

The analyst estimates that fourth quarter iPhone sales in the US will top 13 million units. And he expects that number to only account for about 38% of Apple’s worldwide handset sales, bringing the grand total to 35.3 million iPhones.

Combine this with the fact that Apple’s tablets and laptops were extremely popular this holiday season thanks to numerous discounts, and Um thinks that Apple could break $30 billion in revenue for the first time ever this quarter.

One thing is for sure: all eyes will be on Apple Tuesday, January 23rd as it announces its financial results for the December quarter. Whether Apple hits Tim Cook’s projections or not, this will likely be the single best quarter in the company’s history.