updated 12:35 am EDT, Thu July 26, 2007
"Product transition" in Q4
Though cagey as usual, Apple CFO Peter Oppehnheimer did let slip an alluring statement during Apple's third-quarter earnings conference call. Responding to analyst questions about why Apple is guiding lower-than-expected earnings for next quarter (65 cents a share versus a consensus of 82 cents), Oppenheimer said that there are three expected factors: rising prices for components like NAND flash memory used in the iPhone and iPod, the high cost of back-to-school promotions, and a "product transition" on which he refused to elaborate. Apple is guiding for higher sequential revenue next quarter, $5.7 billion vs. $5.4 billion in the current quarter, which is not to be unexpected thanks to a typical, annual boost from education sales. However, the higher revenue guidance and lower earnings guidance could indicate a new product introduction with lower margins or a high capitalized R&D cost.
For its third quarter, Apple report yet another a record set of earnings, earning $818 million on revenue of $5.41 billion to mark the highest June quarter revenue in the company's history. Gross margin was 36.9 percent, higher than guidance primarily due to favorable commodity costs -- something that could change in the fiscal fourth quarter when Apple is expecting a gross margin of 29.5 percent. The earnings sent Apple's stock spiraling upward in after-hours trading, gaining nearly 10% before midnight.