updated 10:30 pm EST, Wed January 2, 2013
Company expected to post record $50B-plus quarter
Apple, which begins its fiscal year on October 1, will release the results of its holiday quarter sales on January 23 at 5PM ET, an hour after the markets have closed for the day. The company is widely expected to break its own all-time record for sales, with results from the iPhone 5, the fourth-generation iPad, the iPad mini and a refreshed iPod lineup representing iOS products, and a refreshed MacBook and iMac line representing the latest Macs.
CFO Peter Oppenheimer told investment analysts in October that the company expected to see about $52 billion in revenue with earnings per share of around $11.75. Apple has traditionally been conservative in its estimates but has been getting more accurate in its forecasts as it has moved into the upper strata of profitable US companies. Though the stock spent the last three months of 2012 in a slow decline, it was still up nearly 30 percent for the year and rose considerably on the last trading day of 2012 and the first trading day of this year, closing at $549.03 on Wednesday.
Analysts appear to be in even less harmony than usual about how well Apple may do in its Q1 results. Though few are predicting any disappointments, the perception among investors is that the iPhone 5 did not "light a fire" with consumers the way the previous two versions did -- though Apple's aggressive and wider-ranging rollout may have helped sate demand more effectively, creating an impression of less obvious enthusiasm by preventing all-night camp-outs and widespread shortages.
The current consensus of analysts is that Apple will achieve $54.5 billion in revenue -- a jump of $8.2 billion over the same time last year, if accurate -- but that EPS will remain nearly flat year-over-year at around $13.30 due to squeezing of profits by higher manufacturing costs. As usual, the audio-only conference call with analysts will accompany the release of the figures, and will be webcast on Apple's Investor Relations page.