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Apple Earnings Preview: Were Nine Million iPhones Enough? (AAPL)

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Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is scheduled to report earnings Monday after the closing bell.

In true Apple style, it will play its normal “fashionably-late” game where it doesn’t report until 5:00 p.m. ET. An Apple earnings report is arguably the most talked-about of any report each season but the two recent Apple product launch events have served to overshadow Monday’s announcement but here’s what to expect.

Analyst consensus calls for Apple to report EPS of $7.88 per share with revenue of $36.67 billion. Fiscal first-quarter guidance is for $13.86 per share and revenue of $55.65 billion. On September 23, the company announced in an SEC filing that it had sold nine million iPhones on its debut weekend. What wasn’t widely reported at the time was that it expected revenue and gross margins for the quarter to fall in the high end of the guidance it provided last quarter.

That guidance was for revenue of $34 to $37 billion and margins of 36 to 37 percent. With that announcement, Apple set itself up for some high expectations. That, along with a recent surge in the stock gives this announcement a different tone than the previous few where investors were expecting the worst but were happy with any glimmer of hope that Apple hadn’t lost its ability to be an industry leader.

Related: SLIDESHOW: Apple's First TV, New iPads And More From The Fourth Week Of October

With Apple, the normal headline numbers aren’t the only important numbers. Investors want to see how its key products performed. Fortune’s Apple 2.0 reports that consensus calls for reports of 33.4 million iPhones shipped, 13.9 iPads, and 4.2 million Macs.

The new line of iPhones were on sale for only eight days of the quarter so don’t expect any solid data indicating longer-term demand but analysts and investors will want to hear something regarding the demand of the 5S, and 5C. Is 5C demand as low as some are reporting and is 5S demand that strong? Has the company really ramped up production of the 5S nearly 75 percent as some reports suggest?

How about the new retina iPad mini? Apple didn’t provide a specific ship date and there’s speculation that the retina displays are in short supply. Apple indicated “mid-November” but a more firm timeline would help to address the supply chain concerns.

And of course, China. News on the China Mobile (NYSE: CHL) deal isn’t likely but would be a welcome surprise. Also China and overseas demand numbers that might show Apple gaining share in key markets where it has struggled to gain a solid foothold.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Tim Parker was long Apple.

Posted-In: Apple china mobile FortuneEarnings News Previews Tech Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga

 

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