updated 01:50 pm EST, Wed December 7, 2011
AT&T numbers point to better-than-expected numbers
Apple is doing well in terms of iPhones and Macs, but not as well as expected with iPads, a pair of new analyst memos suggest. UBS' Maynard Um notes that at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference, AT&T announced that it had sold 6 million smartphones in the first two months of the current quarter, putting it on track to beat an earlier single-quarter record of 6.1 million. The analyst comments that that his current prediction of 28 million iPhones for the quarter is probably too conservative, as it assumes 6 million from AT&T, and AT&T is likely to sell at least 9 million smartphones by the end of the quarter. Factoring in the effect of launching the iPhone 4S in the period, Um suggests that AT&T may sell an extra 1.2 million iPhones for a total of 7.2 million.
Um adds that online 4S shipping times continue to hover around one to two weeks, and retail stores are continuing to sell out daily. Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, meanwhile, cites supply chain sources as showing "strength" in iPhones, with demand outpacing supply. He is in fact raising a quarterly iPhone forecast from 26 million to 28 million.
Wu has also raised a Mac forecast from 5 million units to 5.2, again based on supply data. The MacBook Air is claimed to be doing especially well. Apple's iPad business however is described as "a little light," and as a consequence Wu is lowering a quarterly outlook from 15 million units to 13.5.
In a broader picture the analyst had adjusted his Q1 forecast to expect $37.7 billion in revenue and $10.00 in EPS, figures up from an earlier estimate of $37.1 billion and $9.52. FY2012 predictions have been boosted from $132.3 billion and $34.00 to $133.2 billion and $35.00. Returning to Q1, gross margin is now anticipated to be 40.9 percent instead of 40.1, owing to the mix shift in favor of Macs and iPhones, along with "fairly benign component pricing."