updated 09:00 pm EDT, Mon October 1, 2012
Only first week of iPhone 5 sales will be included
Due to Apple's fiscal year ending on September 30, the company will announce both Q4 and overall 2012 sales and revenue figures on Thursday, October 25 in a conference call with analysts that will as usual be streamed live over the Internet. The company's results for the year will include the latest sales figures on the 2012 iPad, the slowly-increasing Mac line helped by the recent refresh of portable models, and the first full week of iPhone 5 sales in at least nine countries.
As usual, Apple will release a written version of results just after the market closes for the day, then hold a conference call with CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer taking questions from analysts. Apple had previously warned analysts that it expected revenues to be down slightly, to $34 billion from $35 billion in Q3. While Apple is traditionally conservative with guidance, the late arrival of the iPhone 5 would have had an affect on sales of the iPhone 4S and 4 that may have materially affected the performance of Apple's biggest-selling product.
Nevertheless, the company is likely to share the news that a number of records have been broken, including the most iPhones sold in a year, another sales peak for the iPad, a record (but short of expectations) opening weekend for the iPhone 5 with at least five million sold, and perhaps even another record sales period for the company's Mac line, bolstered by the new MacBook Pros and MacBook Air models. The company has hinted that supply shortages were the only thing keeping the iPhone 5 from surpassing the iPhone 4S' opening weekend sales record more than it did.
Cook and Oppenheimer are expected to face some tough questioning over component supply and price concerns, along with questions about quality control and the company's increasingly fragile relationship with Samsung and Google. Analysts will likely also try to discover the root causes of the Maps controversy that has caused some user backlash and led to a sizable drop in stock price. Cook apologized that the new Maps app in iOS 6, which replaced the Google-powered Maps of iOS 5, was not up to the same standard yet. He said the problems, which mostly affect users outside North America and large cities, will be remedied quickly but gave no firm timeframe.
Also on the agenda for the analysts will be the size of the earnings per share, and a progress report on the new dividend program. Apple has previously guided that it expects EPS of around $7.65, a drop from the $9.32 it reported in the previous quarter. Still, the company is likely to report strong revenues, growth in most product lines other than iPod (though even the refreshed iPod line could see signs of life in Q1 of next year) and a strong lineup of products for the holiday buying season, which could include refreshed iMacs and the long-rumored "iPad mini" still to be introduced.