Will iPhone 5 sales be star of Apple’s 25 October financial event?

Karen Haslam
7 October, 2012
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Apple has announced that it will host a conference call with analysts on Thursday 25 October to discuss its fourth quarter financial results. Apple’s fiscal forth quarter ended on Saturday 29 September, nine days after the iPhone 5 went on sale.

Analysts did have high hopes for the quarter, which will have seen some sales of the iPhone 5. However, there are fears that Apple hasn’t been able to meet demand for the device, with analysts getting nervous about Apple’s ability to supply enough iPhone 5 units and, as a result, reducing their financial forecasts.

The problem, as was noted by Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes, is that manufacturing yields for the in-cell displays that the device uses are too low. Sharp is being held responsible for the shortfall.

There is some concern that Apple is too reliant on the iPhone, which brings in more than 50% of its revenue. In the run up to the end of the third quarter analysts became concerned that consumers were waiting for a new iPhone and not purchasing the iPhone 4S. During the third quarter results conference call on 24 July, Tim Cook admitted as much, explaining to analysts that the third quarter earnings were reduced because customers were waiting for Apple to launch a new iPhone.

When the company announced it’s third quarter results it gave guidance for the fourth quarter, anticipating revenues of around US$34 billion, compared to the quarterly revenue of US$35.0 billion posted for the third quarter. This lead to many Apple analysts to anticipating that the iPhone 5, would not be released until October.

However, Apple launched the iPhone 5 before the end of the quarter, leading some to speculate that Apple bought the launch of the iPhone 5 forward to 21 September so that it would be able to see sales of that device in the fourth quarter.

Along with the launch of the iPhone 5, the quarter, which ran from 1 July to 29 September included the launch of Mountain Lion and will have seen sales of the new range of MacBooks including the MacBook Pro with Retina Display which launched towards the end of June. The quarter also saw Apple win its Apple v Samsung tcourtroom battle.

The earnings release will also offer Apple the chance to comment on the fiscal year 2012, specifically Tim Cook’s first full year as CEO of the company.

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