Apple is set to announce its fiscal first quarter 2015 earnings after market close tomorrow, and most people believe that the company will report very strong earnings in its fiscal quarter ending in December.
Wait, wasn’t that the headline last quarter? Well, yeah, but that was before the holiday season, which will very likely have put some rocket fuel into Apple’s earnings machine in the quarter ending December 31.
OK, so strong earnings, but how strong?
Bloomberg analysts are expecting revenues of $67.5 billion for the quarter, up 17 percent from the year-ago quarter. They expect earnings per share of $2.60 — a 25 percent improvement over last year’s quarter.
Apple’s real performance during the quarter will depend in large part on iPhone sales in the U.S. and abroad. And by most indicators, the iPhone had a screamin’ quarter.
As one analyst said, the iPhone 4 seemed to be the “go-to” gift this holiday season.
It’s not hard to find some bullish takes on Apple’s performance.
The normally reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 73 million iPhones in the holiday quarter.
The balance between sales of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus is also important. The less expensive iPhone 6 has dominated sales so far, but there are signs that sales of the larger iPhone 6 Plus are increasing.
The mobile app marketing company AppLovin asked its Data Desk to do a little study on this balance. It found that iPhone 6 Plus sales in China are quickly taking off now that there are more devices available.
In November, China’s iPhone 6 to iPhone 6 Plus ratio was 65:35, Applovin says, but the ratio has since shifted to 60:40. The US’s ratio shifted about 5 percent from 80:20 to 75:25 in the same time frame.
KGI Securities analyst Kuo believes Apple will report selling 43 million iPhone 6 handsets and 16 million iPhone 6 Plus models in the quarter.
Bloomberg analysts don’t predict sales of specific models, but they predict that Apple will report sales of 65 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter, which would represent a 27 percent increase from the same quarter last year. The analysts believe that the average selling price for an iPhone was $668 during the quarter, versus a selling price of just over $600 last year.
Elsewhere in Apple World, sales of iPads are flattening out. Analysts believe Apple will report selling just 22 million iPads during the December-ending quarter, representing a decline of 14 from last year’s quarter. Average selling price per device will come in at $436.
Kuo — and most other analysts — believe Apple will start shipping a new 12-inch iPad Air (with Retina display) during the first quarter of 2015. Even so, he believes Apple could report sales of only 21.4 million units, representing a 17.8 percent year-over-year decline.
And then there’s the Watch. Few Apple products, if any, have generated as much hype as the Apple Watch, but the device is not expected to appear until March, so it won’t contribute much to Apple’s bottom line next quarter. Apple expects to sell only about a million of them by the end of March.
Overall, analysts expect Apple to report revenues of $53.70 billion for the March quarter.