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Revisiting Estimates for Apple’s second quarter earnings (ended March)

Estimates for Apple’s second quarter earnings ending March | asymco.

Since making the original estimates In January,

  • Revenue: $24.5 billion
  • EPS: 5.89
  • iPhone unit sales: 18.4m
  • iPod unit sales: 10m
  • Mac unit sales: 3.6m
  • iPad unit sales: 7.3m
  • Gross margin percentage: 38.8%

I revised them at the end of March to the following:

  • Revenue: $25 billion
  • EPS: 6.21
  • iPhone unit sales: 17.5m
  • iPod unit sales: 10m
  • Mac unit sales: 3.6m
  • iPad unit sales: 7.3m
  • Gross margin percentage: 39.6%

In the past I was comfortable keeping untouched estimates made three months in advance. This quarter however there have been several developments during the quarter which were unforeseen and cause me to revisit my estimates.

  1. The Verizon iPhone launch. Observations of the event focused on line lengths and buying activity. However, Apple reports shipments not sell-through. I believe the deal structure was such that Apple obtained a very large order as condition to the relationship. The January and March update analysis did not consider this order size. We have also more data on sales from HTC and RIM and there is no letup in the market’s growth. As a result I am revising the growth for the iPhone back up to 110% y/y and 18.4 million units.
  2. Crucially, I’m increasing iPhone ASP to $625 on the basis of this new demand and the likely delay of iPhone 5 launch.
  3. The iPad 2 launch. This product is still too young to see production and sales patterns. However, demand for the second version seems higher than for the first. Distribution is broader too. The unknown is production. I am keeping the unit number at 7.3 million which is the same as the level of CQ4.
  4. China is booming. The Chinese New Year occurred in the quarter and since last year that has meant a sequential increase in device sales for Apple. But it’s a double edged-sword. Almost all production activity is shut down during the holiday period. Apple depends on China exclusively for manufacturing so they will certainly be affected. So whereas it’s likely that we’ll see increased demand from China this year due to even better distribution, macroeconomics and brand value I’m unsure if supply rose to match. Overall, I’m not changing unit growth due to his increased demand but I’m cautioning that there could be downside bias in my estimates.
  5. The tsunami disaster in Japan will affect some demand in Japan and some of the supply chain will be disrupted. However, the effect will be felt more by weaker competitors. It’s possible that the event will amplify the shortages that Apple’s pre-purchase agreements already created. The consequences are bad news for Apple’s competitors but I rate it as neutral for Apple.

Given these new facts coming to light, I would update my estimates as follows:

  • Revenue: $25.5 billion
  • EPS: 6.43
  • iPhone unit sales: 18.4m
  • iPod unit sales: 10m
  • Mac unit sales: 3.6m
  • iPad unit sales: 7.3m
  • Gross margin percentage: 39.9%

Resulting EPS growth would thus be 93%.

For the record, I value my January estimates since they are based on long-term pattern recognition rather than transient events and thus are more useful in forming a market theory.

However, these transient events cannot be ignored and analysis needs to be informed by both theory and events. I will be watching to see which set of predictions (early, mid or late) will be more accurate.