Apple Inc. NASDAQ:AAPL has set the date for its next earnings report and earnings call. The company will release its fourth fiscal quarter results on Oct. 20 after closing bell at around 4:30 p.m. Eastern and then hold its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern.
What to expect in Apple’s earnings report
The upcoming quarterly report will include a couple weeks of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales, but Apple doesn’t typically break down iPhone unit sales according to model. Instead, the company lumps all of the models into one number, just as it does with iPads and with Macs.
At the end of the last quarter, Apple management said they expect revenue for the September quarter to be between $37 billion and $40 bill. They project gross margins of between 37% and 38% and between $4.75 billion and $4.85 billion in operating expense.
Consensus estimates for Apple indicate that analysts expect earnings of around $1.28 per share and revenue of about $39.4 billion. Of course estimates range quite a bit, for example, Evercore is estimating Apple’s revenue to be around $$0.1 billion and its earnings to be at around $1.31 per share.
iPhone unit sales take center stage
Although it’s still too early to see just how successful the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be, analysts are undoubtedly expecting quite a bit out of Apple’s iPhone unit sales this time around. The company said it sold a record 10 million iPhones over opening weekend for the two new iPhone 6s.
If the sales numbers held steady through the end of the quarter on Sept. 27, then Apple will certainly have a blockbuster quarter. Stifel analysts recently increased their iPhone unit sales estimate for the September quarter from 37.8 million to 39.6 million.
Of course investors and analysts will also be looking ahead to the December quarter, as iPhone 6 sales from Mainland China start rolling in. Apple said this week that it will start taking preorders in China on Oct. 10 and in-store reservations on Oct. 14. The phones will be available for pickup in Apple stores in China on Oct. 17.
A related issue to iPhone unit sales is the average selling price, another key metric that gets investors excited. With the apparent popularity of the iPhone 6 Plus and its higher price tag, most expect Apple to see its iPhone selling price rise, especially in the December quarter when the company has a full quarter of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales in the book.