Apple is scheduled to report Q1 2013 (December) earnings result on January 23, after the close. Analysts from Barclays are not expecting significant upside to their EPS estimate of $13.38 (consensus = $13.34) as the iPhone 5 overcame supply constraints in the quarter, but gross margins likely lacked upside given new products. Research firm’s Q1 2013 estimate is based on 17% y/y revenue growth to $54.0B (consensus = $54.6B). Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s guidance (provided on 10/25) included revenue of $52B, EPS of $11.75 and gross margin of 36.0%.

AAPL earnings

Barclays believe Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be especially conservative with regard to guidance for Q2 2013. Shares could then be set up better for outperformance soon as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) readies new products and new software/services announcements prior to the WWDC in the June/July timeframe. The firm believe that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is prepping 3 new iPhone models throughout this year along with a new iPad mini for the second calendar quarter.

As a result of these factors, analysts claim that they wouldn’t be surprised if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) guided March EPS at least a dollar below their Q2 2013 estimate of $12.00 – with revenues in the $41-$44 billion range vs. their estimate of $47.2 billion. For the March quarter, Barclays’ analysts also believe that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will point to downside to the estimate for iPhone unit sales of 41.0 million, up 16.8% y/y and -13.0% q/q in an effort to be conservative. The research firm expect margins to improve on a sequential basis in the March quarter to 39.3% from their 38.4% December quarter estimate.

Analysts also believe it is now time for Apple to unveil a more comprehensive television solution to enhance the value of the iOS ecosystem. They believe iOS is perfectly suited for this market and to compete with the Smart Hub shown by Samsung at CES.

Barclays makes ‘no change’ to their price target of Apple’s stock.