Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple to announce earnings after the bell; Digitimes report projects that iPad sales will be around 13 million units

Apple Inc. will report its fourth quarter earnings after the markets close this afternoon. Apple's fiscal starts in October and ends in September.

Earlier today Digitimes reported that its senior analyst James Wong says Apple will report that it sold around 13 million iPads in the quarter, a healthy 36.8 percent growth, but still below its own internal goals due to the sluggish economy. Wong also projects that iPad competitors will post disappointing growth over just over 10 percent.

It almost goes without saying that the track record of "analysts" is pretty miserable, but clearly Apple will have another blowout quarter, and whether they report iPad sales of 10, 13, or 15 million units, the iPad remains the only game in town. It also should be remembered that when Apple reported that it had sold 5 million units at for the same quarter last year tech writers were astonished that the company had reached that level of success so soon after the products launch. (The iPad was launched at the beginning of Apple's Q2 in 2010.)

Revenue for the quarter is expected to be just below $30 billion, but what really boggles the mind is what Apple could do for total sales in Q1 2012 – that is, this year's holiday sales season. With a new iPhone out in the market, a still much in demand iPad 2, and brisk selling MacBook Airs, the company may be one of the few to blow out its holiday sales numbers in the middle of a weak economy.

Every time Apple reports its numbers I am reminded of the brilliant move made by executives at B2B publisher Cahners (later renamed Reed Business Information) who decided in 2000 (or so) to replace all their Macs with PCs because "Apple was going out of business". The art directors all complained, but since the media executives knew better, it was decided that buying hardware from Apple was a bad investment.