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Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone Sales Expected In-Line, Q3 Guidance Below

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s next earnings report is just days away, but we’re starting to get some small indications of just what that report might say. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek took a look at the latest earnings results from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM) and Siliconware Precision Industries (NASDAQ:SPIL) (TPE:2325).

Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone Sales Expected In-Line, Q3 Guidance Below

According to Misek, inventory will play a major role in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s report this time around, and as a result, the company’s third quarter guidance might be below consensus.

Verizon activated 3.8 million iPhones

One of the earliest clues we had about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) next earnings report was from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), which reported the number of iPhones it sold during the second quarter. It activated 3.8 million units, which is a 4% decline quarter over quarter. However, the iPhone made up more than half of Verizon’s smartphone activations—51%—although activations for the handset were down from 56% in the first quarter and 63% in the fourth quarter of last year.

Misek is predicting that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shipped 26 million iPhones during the second quarter, which is in line with consensus. He’s expecting to see a channel inventory drawdown of 2 million, resulting in a total of 28 million sell-throughs. That would make Verizon’s 3.8 million activations 13.7 % of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s 28 million iPhones, which would mean that the carrier would account for 13.7% of the company’s iPhone sales. That’s higher than the historical range of 9.9% to 13.4%.

iPhone sales affected by 5S expectations

Misek believes that sales of the current iPhone 5 were “skewed toward the U.S.” in the fourth quarter and internationally during the first quarter because many fans of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) believe that the iPhone 5S will be coming out this fall. In the second quarter, he expects to see iPhone sales to be spread more equally across the U.S. and abroad, although the U.S. could still have more iPhone sales since demand for the handset is slowing more internationally than in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s home country.

Apple’s Q3 guidance affected by inventory

Like several other analysts, Misek continues to believe that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s third quarter guidance will be below consensus. He looked at inventory levels of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM) and Siliconware Precision Industries (NASDAQ:SPIL) (TPE:2325) for some signs of what to expect. He reported that TSMC’s third quarter guidance was a 3% to 5% increase quarter over quarter rather than the consensus of 6%.

The company also said its customers days of inventory was 73 at the end of the second quarter, compared to its estimate of 71 days. The company thinks this number will reach 71 days at the end of the next quarter, compared to expectations of 58 days three months ago. Misek believes this is because of high smartphone inventories.

He also noted high wafer bank inventories at Siliconware Precision Industries (NASDAQ:SPIL) (TPE:2325).

Apple to see problems in Russia

He noted another big problem for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the near future is Russia where the nation’s biggest carrier said it will stop selling iPhones because of “the high marketing support and subsidies demanded by Apple.” Next two more carriers did the same. Together, the three carriers make up 82 percent of the mobile market in Russia. Although the country accounted for only about 1 percent of Apple’s iPhone sales in the first quarter, the country is a rapidly growing market, and one of the three carriers that will stop supporting the iPhone also has subscribers in other countries. This could hurt Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the long term.

Misek continues to rate Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares as Hold with a $405 per share price target.

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