For a company that has a reputation for secrecy, Apple is surprisingly open about its sales.Unlike Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or Samsung, Apple details how many units of each major product it sells.
It also provides very specific guidance. Well, we should say, it used to provide very specific guidance.
Last night it changed its guidance practice. It gave a range of revenue, range of margin, range of operating expenses, tax rate, and other income.
Notice anything missing in there? Earnings per share is not listed.
Apple gives all the pieces to figure out EPS, but you have to do it yourself. BTIG’s Walter Piecyk did the maths and came up with a range of $9.23 – $10.23.
When you see what Apple is actually guiding for EPS, it makes sense it didn’t want to just spell it out.
This is relatively horrible guidance. Piecyk notes that it would be a 17% drop year over year at the high end, and a 25% drop year over year on the low end.
For some context, in the March quarter of 2012, Apple’s EPS growth was 92% on a year-over-year basis. The reason EPS growth was so strong last year was that Apple released the iPhone 4S in China during the quarter.
This year, the iPhone 5 will have already been in China for a few weeks, thus limiting its sales. Also, Apple now sells the iPad Mini which makes less money than the bigger iPad.