updated 10:54 pm EDT, Mon July 1, 2013
Just-announced MBA refresh not expected to have impact
Apple will hold its next quarterly earnings call with investors on Tuesday, July 23, where it will discuss its fiscal third-quarter results. According to its own estimates, it expects to report between $33.5 billion and $35.5 billion, a drop from the previous quarter but a realistic figure in light of no refreshed iPad or iPhone, the two primary drivers of Apple's income. While the latest MacBook Air revision has garnered significant praise for its various improvements, it emerged at the very tail end of the quarter and thus didn't influence sales.
Like the new MBA, investors are waiting until the release of OS X Mavericks and the results of the holiday buying season (Apple's fiscal first quarter) before judging the health of the Mac line, though it is possible that some additional models (particularly the MacBook Pro) will receive the Intel "Haswell" chip upgrade before Mavericks is released. As has been widely reported, the new chip's power-sipping qualities have resulted in significant jumps in battery life which have caused much excitement in the market.
Also affecting sales of other Apple products is the expected drop in sales that comes ahead of new iOS device models. Apple has already said that new products will be coming this fall, which is taken to mean the latest iPhone, iPad and possibly some entirely new devices -- including a long-rumored Apple television or smartwatch. Another keenly-anticipated release is the acceptance of the new iOS 7, not to mention the long-overdue Mac Pro overhaul, which will test how professional users will adapt to the re-designed machine. Primarily, however, investors will be watching to see if Apple can continue its remarkable iOS platform US sales growth in the face of competition and a lack of any new product in the quarter.
In the previous quarter, Apple saw both good news and bad: revenues were up, as were iPad and iPhone sales (above analysts' predictions), but Mac sales were basically flat and net profit was down slightly for the first time in a decade, a trend that is expected to have continued over the past three months. Analysts have reported that Apple has ordered fewer iPhones for the upcoming quarter, signalling that it expects further erosion of iPhone sales ahead of its eventual announcement of the next model.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer are expected to point to continued strong performance in the US markets with iOS devices, the success of the iPad mini, and the buildup of anticipation for new products in the fall, as well as report any progress in important markets such as China, Brazil, Russia or Japan. Margins are expected to be around 36 percent, with operating expenses bubbling just under $4 billion. The conference call is schedule to take place at 2PM Pacific/5PM Eastern on July 23. MacNN will have live call coverage, and Apple will provide a live audio stream of the call, as well as later replays on demand.