Analysts expect Apple to report a third straight quarter of declining earnings when the company releases its next earnings report on July 22. The average projection for the second quarter is for earnings of $7.36 per share, FactSet reports, compared with the $9.32 in earnings per share Apple reported a year prior.
Combine this anticipated 21 percent drop with Apple's sheer size, and it is easy to see why Apple is expected to represent half of the total drop in earnings for the entire information technology sector.
(Read More: Four Reasons Why Apple Is in More Trouble Than You Think)
Of course, the Apple effect has not always been negative. FactSet reports that from the third quarter of 2010 through the third quarter of 2012, Apple was the information technology sector's largest contributor to earnings growth, and accounted for "almost all of the earnings growth for the sector" in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, according to a Friday note.
"Apple was such a positive driver of growth for so long," FactSet senior earnings analyst John Butters told CNBC.com, "and now they're one of the detractors of growth."
Butters said that the influence of Apple on the overall earnings growth rate has been unprecedented.
"We've probably seen it for a quarter or two," Butters said, but when it comes to one company taking charge of a sector's overall earnings growth rate, "I can't think of an example where you've seen over so many quarters like you have with Apple, where it was the biggest contributor to growth over such a long period of time."
Of course, if Apple can drive the sector lower, an Apple earnings resurgence could just as easily translate into an information technology comeback.
"Going into 2014, analysts are expecting Apple to get back to earnings growth again," Butters said. "If the analysts have it right, Apple will again become a significant contributor to earnings growth going forward."