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Apple has been disappointing analysts each quarter for two years. Will this quarter be different?
Apple is expected to announce its fourth quarter earnings later today, and they should be good. Why? Because Apple said so.
While Apple has consistently disappointed Wall Street every quarter for two years now, things should be different this time around.
Remember when Apple broke its own record, selling 9 million iPhones on opening weekend after unveiling the new iPhone 5S and 5C? And then remember how Apple filed a bizarre, super-early earnings pre-announcement to let everyone know that iPhone sales were so unexpectedly awesome that its fourth quarter earnings would come in at the higher end of its $34-$37 billion guidance?
Wall Street remembers, too.
Professional analysts polled by Fortune are expecting $36.95 billion in revenue and EPS of $7.96, which would actually be a drop from Apple’s Q4 2012 EPS of $8.67. Apple’s Q4 2012 revenue was $35.97 billion.
Given the fact that Apple had essentially five new product releases this quarter (iPhone 5S, 5C, iOS 7, iPad Air, and updated iPad mini), it would be surprising if the company didn’t generate higher than expected earnings. The question is, how many devices is it selling?
In Q4 2012, Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones. As of last quarter, that number was up to 31.2 million iPhones sold. While iPhone sales have consistently beat Wall Street’s expectations each quarter, iPad sales haven’t had as much luck. In Q4 2012, Apple disappointed analysts with only 14 million iPads sold, when they were expecting 17-18 million units sold. Last quarter, it was the same story: just 14.6 million iPads sold.
The problem last quarter was that the iPad was overdue for an update. The iPad mini was desperately in need of a Retina display to keep up with competition, and the larger iPad hadn’t seen much change at all since the original was unveiled three years ago.
That all changed last week when Apple unveiled a wholly redesigned iPad, dubbed iPad Air, its lightest and thinnest tablet yet. IPad Air is 20% thinner at only 7.5 mm thick, and weighs 28% less than the previous version at just one pound. The new iPad Air also comes with the 64-bit A7 chip and M7 motion coprocessor, which makes it eight times faster with 72 times better graphics than the original iPad released in 2010.
Samesies for the iPad mini, which now comes with Retina display and the A7 chip, which makes it two times faster.
Apple hasn’t revealed any numbers yet as to how many orders have been placed for its new iPads, which will start shipping November 1. But analysts are expecting iPad sales to remain fairly low for the fourth quarter at just 14.5 million units.
Meanwhile, iPhone sales are expected to be high as usual, at 32.7 million units.
Will Apple dazzle Wall Street once more, like it did in the Good Old Days? We’ll find out this afternoon.
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