Apple is due to announce its quarter one financial results on Wednesday 23 January. The results for Apple's Christmas shopping quarter are normally impressive, however, various issues over the past three months may have impacted Apple's ability to produce enough of its products, while the demand for Apple products may have itself been reduced by negative reaction to Apple Maps. These and other issues may have a negative impact on Apple's financials.
The results are for the Christmas quarter that runs from 30 September through to the end of 2012. Investors and Apple watchers will be looking for any indication of a slow down in iPhone and iPad sales, especially following the launch of Apple Maps on 19 September.
Asymco analyst Horace Dediu has published his estimates for Apple's first quarter. However, he admits: "I'm very uncomfortable with my forecast and find it hard to defend this quarter". He notes a number of challenges to making predictions.
1) Apple gave very low guidance for the quarter’s earnings and sales.
2) The quarter is a week shorter than usual.
3) Apple launched a large number of new products rolled out to "more markets more quickly than ever". Normally this would lead to a surge in sales.
4) However, production was constrained. For example, Apple CEO was only confident that Apple would be able to "supply quite a few iPhones".
5) Margins are complicated. There have been manufacturing issues and price points have been lower.
6) There was an increase in CapEx. Later Dediu asks: "What’s the nature of the relationship with Samsung as a supplier," and wonders if this is connected to the increase in CapEx.
Other issues include currency fluctuations, deferrals and unfavorable component pricing.
Dediu goes on to question whether Apple is moving to a faster product cycle.
Dediu's predictions are as follows: 55.5m iPhones, 5m Macs, 24.4m iPads, 11.2m iPods, total revenue $60b.
Apple has taken a bit of a battering on the stock market recently with AAPL bouncing around between $509 and $586 over the past month. It seems likely that one cause of investor uncertainty is the US Fiscal Cliff. Apple's investors were thought to have been cashing in their gains so that they wouldn't be hit by the increased capital gains tax. The changes to tax cuts were averted after President Barack Obama signed into law a bill on 3 January, however, battles over taxes and spending continue in Washington.
Others point to another reason for the decline in the AAPL price (which has been ongoing since September) the negative reaction to Apple Maps.
While Apple languishes around the $523 point many are suggesting it might be a good time to buy the AAPL stock which is forcast by some analysts to reach $1,000 or at least $750.
Apple's financial results conference call will take place at 10pm GMT (2pm PST/5pm EST) on 23 January. You can listen to the call here.