Apple seems set to exceed sales expectations in its current financial quarter – but we won't find out by how much until 25 April, when the company reveals its Q2 results.
In keeping with the industry, Apple's second financial quarter is traditionally less prosperous than the other three quarters of its financial year.
Prospects for the current period seemed dim, with few new product launches and talk of slowing iPod sales – but such talk may be unfounded, say the analysts.
Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves made a few observations regarding recent NPD sales tracker data, pointing out that Mac sales seem to be exceeding his estimates for the quarter.
The analyst also observed that Apple's customers are choosing the better-featured (and more expensive) Mac configurations, and predicts 1.5 million Mac sales in the current quarter. Mac sales growth continues to exceed the rate of PC sales growth.
iPod sales seem set to meet 10.5 million units the analyst said, noting Apple as "outperform" and offering a target stock price of $130 per share.
According to Apple Insider, Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty also notes success for Cupertino, telling clients that sales data shows Apple up as the only computer vendor to avoid being impacted in terms of CPU sales by the release of Windows Vista.
PC makers saw a month of slow sales as consumers waited for Vista to launch at the end of January. "Apple is the only vendor that appears unscathed by the Vista transition," Huberty said. She expects Apple to exceed expectations in its current quarter.
Speaking during Apple's Q1 results conference, Apple chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, offered a conservative range of targets for the current business period: “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2007, we expect revenue of $4.8 to $4.9 billion," he said.
Investors noted that this conservative guidance contrasted markedly to Apple's blustering success in Q1, when it posted record revenue of $7.1 billion and record net quarterly profit of $1.0 billion.
Apple shipped 1,606,000 Macs and 21,066,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 28 per cent growth in Macs and 50 per cent growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs also set Mac user-tongues-a-wagging at the time, saying “We’ve just kicked off what is going to be a very strong new product year for Apple by launching Apple TV and the revolutionary iPhone.”
As we approach the end of the second quarter, neither product has been available to the market for long enough to generate significant sales (the iPhone not at all).
In the coming weeks, Apple's user community hopes to read news of the release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard; new versions of iLife and iWork; potential new Mac models, and (in the UK) and iTunes Store for films, in order to enhance the value to this market of the Apple TV.