Apple’s Federal Reserve Green Christmas: Record-Setting iPhone Shipments, Strong Mac Sales
By most measures, 2009 has been an outstanding year for Apple. Quarter after quarter, the company posted strong earnings and sales regardless of the econalypse, which has knocked the stuffing out of so many of its peers. Apple is poised to do so once again for the three-month period ending December, says Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu.
With its iPhone, Mac and iPod businesses all performing well, Apple (AAPL) will likely blow the doors off Wall Street’s already heightened expectations. “Despite continued difficult macroeconomic conditions and ever rising investor expectations, we anticipate Apple could still post material upside to recently raised consensus estimates, not to mention its conservative guidance, driven by strength in all three major product lines, particularly its iPhone business,” Wu wrote in a research note distributed today.
Given the strong momentum in Apple’s Mac product line, Wu expects the company to ship 2.9 million Macs, a bit more than the consensus of 2.85 million.
Wu also expects iPhone shipments to hit a new record: “We believe Apple could ship 9.5 million iPhones (consensus at 8.8 million), a new quarterly record, beating its previous record of 7.4 million iPhones set last quarter….Our sources indicate continued strong momentum in the U.S., a more material contribution from Asia-Pacific (China and Korea); and a stronger-than-expected uptake in Europe due to multiple carriers and more attractive prepaid service plans.”
That estimate, 9.5 million iPhones, is quite a number and one that, as Wu notes, would put Apple impressively close to Research in Motion (RIMM), which shipped 10.1 million BlackBerrys in its last quarter.
For the December quarter, Wu expects Apple to earn $2.15 per share on sales of $12.4 billion, significantly more than consensus estimates of $2.04 per share on sales of $11.9 billion and a far cry from Apple’s typically conservative guidance of $1.70-$1.78 per share on sales of $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion.