Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) certainly has a lot to gain from yesterday’s report of record smartphone sales from AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). Analysts at RBC Capital Markets released a report to investors this morning analyzing how AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)’s report for its December quarter weighs heavily on what we can expect from Apple’s earnings.
RBC Capital analysts said the report does imply approximately 8.1 million iPhones sold by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which is in line with their expectations and suggest that the company shipped at least 46 million iPhones in the December quarter. In addition they believe that international markets will be one of the main drivers for iPhone sales, both in the December quarter and beyond. As a result, they see the possibility that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will produce a lower-end iPhone or other smartphone to target growing international markets.
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The analysts said growth of the domestic smartphone market is slowing because all four of the major carriers in the U.S. support the iPhone. However the international market will spur further growth for Apple as more and more international carriers begin to carry the iPhone. Without China Mobile, which is the largest carrier in the world, and with fewer than 300 carriers offering the iPhone, Apple still has plenty of viable options for growth, especially if the company decides to produce a lower-end smartphone.
RBC Capital has set their December quarter estimates at $55.4 billion in revenue and $13.79 earnings per share. That implies a 38 percent gross margin, compared to Apple’s guidance of 36 percent. They have set their price target at $725 per share and rated shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as Outperform with Above Average Risk.