Apple reports earnings after the market closes (around 4 PM Eastern), and we’ll have the numbers as soon as they hit, so tune in.
We’re not sure what to expect from Apple this quarter. Apple has missed analyst estimates two of the last four quarters. Tonight could very easily make it three out of five.
It already whiffed on iPad estimates. During Apple’s iPad mini event, CEO Tim Cook basically told investors Apple sold 15 million iPads during the September quarter. Analysts had been expecting 17.6 million iPads sold.
We’re going to be listening carefully to hear Apple’s explanation of why iPad sales came in light. Is it competition from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft?
As for the iPhone, which is the biggest part of Apple’s business, it’s a real wild card. Piper Jaffray says buy side expectations are at 25.3 million units.
Demand was likely very weak for the first 11 weeks of the quarter as people waited for the iPhone 5 to come out. Then when the iPhone 5 was released, the supply was constrained. Analysts thought Apple would sell 6-10 million on opening weekend. Apple only sold 5 million.
Apple’s entire quarter comes down to this question: How many iPhones did it sell?
The good news for Apple is that it’s already laid out the story it can tell analysts for the next two quarters, regardless of what happens. It has an iPhone 5 that is in high demand. Expect Cook to say something like, “We can’t believe the demand. It’s truly incredible. And we are doing all we can to make them.”
In addition to the iPhone 5, Apple just announced the iPad mini, new iMacs, new laptops, and a refreshed iPad. We expect Apple to talk about all of that on its earnings call.
The risk for Apple is that going into the holiday quarter with all of these new products it might not be able to manufacture enough to meet demand. Even if that’s the case, then Apple can still spin a positive story on the next earnings call, saying demand is off the charts.
From Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray, here’s a table of the street’s expectations, as well as his own:
Photo: Piper Jaffray