Apple (AAPL) is set to report earnings for the quarter that ended on September 30 (fiscal fourth quarter earnings for Apple) tomorrow after the market’s close. The stakes are higher than usual.
Wall Street is forecasting that iPhone sales will be just 45 million units for the quarter–which would produce the third consecutive quarterly decline in iPhones sale and the first ever year over year drop in sales volumes. The guidance for the fourth quarter that Apple issued with third quarter earnings was for revenue of $45.5 to $47.5 billion. The mid-point of that range would amount to a 9.7% drop in revenue year over year. Apple’s shares are up better than 20% from its third-quarter earnings report.
No one is quite sure how well that forecast will hold up. There have been reports of better than expected sales of the iPhone 7 at some vendors and reports of supply shortages because Apple didn’t build enough phones. And then, of course, there’s the spectacular fail of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, which was pulled from the market after an attempt to fix a problem with batteries bursting into fire failed. Apple probably picked up some sales from its competitor’s woes but models for predicting how big a bump Apple might see aren’t working with a lot of data.
Just as important as the results for the September quarter will be company guidance for the fourth quarter, which includes the important holiday shopping season.
Apple is also set to announce long-delayed updates to its line of Macintosh computers on Thursday, October 27.