Apple Earnings Call: $73 Billion and Many Questions About the iPhone 13, New Products and Upgrades

Last Updated on July 27, 2021

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The Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) earnings call is upon us again. On Tuesday afternoon, July 27, the company will likely offer “directional commentary,” speaking to how its results for the last quarter stack up against those of earlier periods. How much more it will say is a question. 

The Spring quarter has long been a slow one from Apple, because its a time when buyers are waiting for the next iPhone launch. This year that would be the iPhone 13, likely in September. 

In 2021, though, Apple executives will be able to strike an upbeat note, they can compare their earnings numbers to the year-before pandemic numbers.  

Commenters are wondering specifically: what if anything will the company tell us about that upcoming iPhone launch? There has been a lot of guesswork, even more than usual. Some fear the iPhone 13 is going to be a play-it-safe model, so the launch could be anti-climatic. Actually, the launch could be a disappointment for another reason: with the pandemic undefeated, there will be no physical stage show, only a virtual launch.

Will There Be Upgrades?

Theater aside: will there be anything new and exciting about the product to be launched? According to James Peckham of TechRadar, one can reasonably expect a larger battery, and so more time between recharging. Also, there could be improvements in the camera. The two Pro handsets could get an upgraded ultra-wide shooter, and LiDAR could be present on all the iPhone 13 models, which will mean better depth perception.

To some that may sound boring. To others, the leaked information adds up to an “iPhone generation to be excited about.” 

Certainly stock analysts want to know. The iPhone remains the company’s flagship. It contributes above 50% of total revenues Rising competition in the smartphone space may furrow the brows of some of the investors.

Beyond the Flagship

Beyond the iPhone, of course, the Cupertino, Calif. headquartered giant has the iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, a lot of consumer and professional software applications, the iOS and Mac OS X operating systems, iCloud, and various accessory, service and support offerings. It continues to innovate. 

Apple has had some success of late with consumer audio products. It bought Dr. Dre’s company, Beats Electronics, in 2014. That was the largest acquisition in Apple’s history, $3 billion cash-and-stock. There were rumors last year that Apple is about to phase out the Beats hardware brand. The company has since shot them down. 

There has been another round of product-related rumors and speculation this week involving the 16-inch MacBook Pro, a line of notebook computers. 

In terms of the chips that make up the guts of a computer, Apple is in the midst of a transition from Intel to in-house products, Apple Silicon.  The rumors (probably false) have the MacBook Pro moving from to the M1, an Apple Silicon chip. That may be a subject for discussion during the call, too.

Some Numbers

What can we say about the numbers Apple will discuss during tomorrow’s earnings call? 

The consensus number for earnings per share is $1. But the “whisper number,” a less official guesstimate, is somewhat more optimistic, EPS of $1.17. Markets often react strongly to whether the announced earnings results beat or fall short of these anticipations. So, should the EPS be below $1., look for bearish response: should it be above $1.17, let the bulls roar.  

Also, the revenue is expected to come in close to $73 billion. This will be down from $89.6 billion in the previous quarter but, as noted, the Spring quarter is the slow one.

The stock price has risen, in a slow-but-steady line, over the last two months. In late May it seemed stuck below $130. It crossed that line in mid-June and crossed $140 in the first week of July. It is now knocking on the door of $150.