THE APPLE INVESTOR: Roaring Into Earnings With Increasing iPhone Estimates And Mac Shipments

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AAPL Off As Market Sinks
Markets are off with big banks down ~3% and investors pile into German bonds. Shares of AAPL are off with the rest of tech. Catalysts for the stock include next week’s education event on Thursday, January 19th; holiday quarter results on Tuesday, January 24 at 5:00pm ET; iPhone upgrade cycles and adoption; update to the iPad; continued market share growth of the Mac business line; further penetration in China and emerging markets; the evolution and potential re-conception of Apple TV; and platforms such as Siri, mobile advertising (iAd), books and publishing, gaming, mapping and social (Ping). Shares of Apple trade at 9.5x Enterprise Value / Trailing Twelve Months Free Cash Flow (including long-term marketable securities).

Positive Earnings From Supplier M-Flex Sign That Apple Could Have Blowout Quarter (AppleInsider)
UBS analyst Maynard Um cited the better-than-expected preliminary results of Apple supplier Multi-Fineline Electronix (M-Flex) as further evidence that Apple will report its “best holiday quarter in history.” Henry Blodget at Business Insider agrees that positive earnings reports from Apple’s supply chain (and reports that shortages from flooding in Thailand have improved) is an early sign that the company could report breakout profits despite mid-quarter concern over supply issues.

Apple Selling Way More Phones Than People Think (Business Insider)
Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has bumped his iPhone estimate for the holiday quarter to 30 million, up from 26 million previously. Munster’s had a mixed track record this year on iPhone estimates. He was overly optimistic for the September quarter, and underestimated the June and March quarters. In general, he seems to set expectations below Apple’s actual results. So, if he’s calling for 30 million iPhones, there’s a very good chance the company is going to blow those results away.

T-Mobile Explains Why It Doesn’t Have The iPhone (All Things Digital)
T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm recently explained why the iPhone is not capable of running on his 3G network, despite earlier claims that iPhone users were able to establish an intermittent 3G connection in certain areas of the U.S. “The key reason we didn’t have the iPhone in the past is we are on different band than globally the market was,” Humm said. The technical hurdle preventing the iPhone from coming to T-Mobile USA could be cleared when the next iteration of the phone comes out.

The New iPhone Will Be Thinner And Available By Summer, Says Analyst (AppleInsider)
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty predicts that the next-generation iPhone will be thinner and may include a quad-mode chip that will allow it to work on all 3G and LTE networks. The thinner size would come from Apple employing new touch panel technology. Huberty suggests that Apple may also use a brand new material to build the casing for the device. She predicts that the new iPhone will be ready for consumers at the end of the second quarter. That’s going to piss off the iPhone 4S people; namely me.

Apple Cancels iPhone 4S Retail Sales In Beijing And Shanghai (All Things Digital)
Apple has decided to postpone the retail availability of its new iPhone 4S at some stores in mainland China, after a rowdy crowd disrupted the device’s debut. Customers became so unruly when the store failed to open its doors on time. And rather than risk a repeat of the incident, which ended in profanity, egg-throwing and a few scuffles, the company decided not to sell the 4S at any of its retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai. Instead, it will sell the device through its Web site and carrier partners. Click here for video and photos.

Macs Are Bucking PC Shipment Trends (Gartner)
Preliminary PC shipment estimates for the holiday quarter show that Apple appears to be bucking the generally declining trend. Worldwide shipments dropped 1.4% year over year, with the U.S. seeing a 5.9% decline. The global drop includes an estimated 16.2% decrease from HP and 18.4% loss from Acer. Meanwhile, Mac shipments, including both desktop and notebook models, saw a 20.7% increase, or 11.6% of total PC shipments.

Apple Paid Nearly $400 Million For Flash-Memory Drive Company (Electronista)
Apple reportedly acquired Anobit Technologies for about $390 million. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $54 billion of Apple’s $82 billion cash and investments that resides in offshore accounts. Apple got a bargain paying below the price sought by the Israeli maker of a flash-memory drive parts. Anobit sought as much as $500 million. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” said Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman.

Target Confirms It Will Open 25 Apple Displays Within Stores (GigaOM)
Confirming reports from last week, Target will soon offer store-within-a-store-type setups for Apple in 25 of its locations. Apple’s special displays were announced alongside a program of deploying small boutiques within Target’s larger stores called the “Shops at Target.” An in-store partnership with Target should help Apple reach more markets in areas where dedicated Apple retail locations don’t make financial sense.

Apple Expanding Out Of Cupertino, Leasing Up To 800K Square Feet (Mercury News)
Apple has agreed to lease 215,000 square feet in Sunnyvale, CA, just north of Apple headquarters, and is seeking even more space in the city. Potentially thousands of Apple employees could end up working in these buildings. It’s not clear how many of these would be new hires, or how many would be transfers from existing Apple offices. All told, Apple wants to lease 700,000 to 800,000 square feet. That much space would be enough for 2,800 to 3,200 Apple employees.