Mac sales, Apple's single largest
revenue source, are expected to recover substantially for Apple's
Q4 of its fiscal year. With new
iPods, the iPod sales slide is also expected to slow slightly.
However, some fear that iPhone growth is slowing and the numbers
won't be enough to satisfy investors.
Last year Apple sold 6.9
million iPhones during this quarter, amid the recession. This
year's estimates predict sales of 7.5 million phones (taking the
average of analyst figures). Some are concerned by Apple's
announcement in September that it had sold 30 million iPhones to
date. This could indicate that it had only sold 3.5 million
iPhones by September, too slow a pace to reach its targets. And
while Apple is reaching into foreign markets like
China, there are reports that it is having trouble handling
demand in these foreign locales.
Hudson Square Research
analyst Daniel Ernst states, "The driver is if the iPhone keeps
selling well. Mac is a huge part of the company and I think
it's going to get better next year, so while there may be some risk
in the iPhone sales for the quarter, people will take some solace in
that the Mac sales are pretty strong."
analysts sick of being embarrassed by bloggers posting higher
estimates for Apple, many analysts began to raise their estimates in
September. Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi writes in
a recent research note, "Expectations for Q4 are high going into
FY Q4, and we would not be looking to make a big bet on the
Rounding out analyst predictions, they expect a
revenue of $9.2B USD, up 17 percent from a year before. They
expect 7 percent growth for Macs, at 2.8 million Macs. IPod
sales are expected to be down slightly -- 5 to 10 percent.
IBM and Google also beating estimates, though, Apple won't be the
only one in the club if it manages its usual surprise. Thus,
how investors take the news largely relies on exactly how big the
surprise is -- for example in Google's case, it greatly beat
estimates and its stock rose.
Apple does have one potential
ace-in-the-hole. It is rumored that it will be releasing a
PC sometime next year. While no official confirmation has
come from Apple, a wealth of information and pictures leaking onto
the web seem to indicate that something is coming.