Apple Inc. Q4 Earnings Preview: More Than Just iPhones

Apple Inc. Q4 Earnings Preview: More Than Just iPhones

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is scheduled to release its next earnings report on Monday, and all eyes will be looking at how many iPhones the company shipped during the September quarter. They’ll also be looking at the average selling price, which should provide a clue about whether Apple is selling more of the more expensive iPhone 6 Plus models.

Estimates for Apple’s earnings

But as always, there’s more to the Apple earnings story, and Stifel analysts have chosen to focus on the other parts.

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In a report dated Oct. 15, 2014, analyst Aaron Rakers and his team said they’re keeping their estimates at $41.3 billion in revenue and $1.33 per share in earnings. They’re a little ahead of consensus estimates, which are $39.9 billion in revenue and $1.30 per share in earnings.

Apple’s guidance

Of course investors will be watching to see what Apple’s guidance for the current quarter looks like. The Stifel team estimates that the company will ship 65.3 million iPhones in the December quarter, although they do see upside to that number. They also want to see if Apple is able to keep its gross margins in the 37% to 38% range for the December quarter.

The Stifel team noted that after the iPhone 5, Apple guided for a decline in gross margins to 36%, although the company ended up reporting a margin of 38.6%. They’re wondering though just how well Apple has been able to “work through the cost curves” on the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus product cycle.

What else to look for in Apple’s report

The analysts also want to know more about capital expenditures, noting that Apple typically offers a guide for the next fiscal year. This will enable them to get a reading on the level of intensity Apple is expecting in capital expenditures for the 2015 fiscal year.

Of course they’re also wondering about the mix of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and also the capacities of the iPhones. This will make a big difference on the resulting average selling price.

The Stifel team is expecting a sequential increase in product warranty accruals for the September and December quarters, just as Apple reported last year.


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